Monday, August 13, 2007

Reality Check

In the aftermath of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly and the, uh, "debriefing" that is happening on several groups and e-mail lists of which I am a part, a colleague with Lutheran CORE included this line in a Sunday afternoon post:
However, God granted me a reality check this morning.
To which I replied (and sent to others):

Same here -- except I was in my pulpit when it happened. I was describing my response to Bishop Hanson's question to those of us still around at the CWA's end, "What is the first thing you'll say when people ask you, 'What happened at the Churchwide Assembly?'"

You can find a brief narrative/pictoral version of what I did later homiletically posted late last night on my blog. Or at least what I tried to do homiletically. For you see, the moment I got to the climax of describing what happened during the moment of silence/prayer for church unity at the microphone I was monitoring (go ahead, read it)...


...I lost it. My voice choked, and my eyes overflowed with tears. Now in 15 years of ordained ministry, I've had a few (okay, very few) powerfully emotional moments in the chancel or pulpit. I've had to take a deep breath in order to complete a difficult/painful sentence or thought, particularly at a couple of funerals. But I'd never just lost it like this.

And it wasn't out of despair, or anger, or disappointment—all of which I have—at what happened at the CWA. It was out of HOPE. And the fierce calling that the ELCA must be united, and must be united in the Faith.

We're not there. It may be a long time before we are. We'll have to work hard and in ways we are not used to working. And the things we will have to experience will hurt like hell.

But speaking for myself, I have no other choice. This is where I have been called and this is where I will stay.

After a long, long moment, I was composed enough to finish my description. Then came the texts for today: "Do not be afraid." "Have no fear, little flock." I pointed to the cross, resurrection, and ascension. I pointed to the Eucharist of which we were about to partake, the very Body and Blood of the living Christ.

To those of you for whom this CWA appears to have crossed a line, I plead you to not abandon the faithful in the ELCA. Walk with us, instead. Speak with us. Pray with us.

Pax et bonum, Steven+

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