Pentecost +20 — Year C
World Communion Sunday
A rewrite —
How lonely sits a church that once was full of people! How isolated and barren! How small and irrelevant after such numbers and influence! A once shining beacon is now an overly protected flame safe from wind—only to have no source of fuel.
There is a great bitterness within—a divided self with comfort limited to true believers. Friends and potential friends must first prove their loyalty and do so again and again for fear they will eventually reveal a flaw in a self-contained and unambiguous system.
Yes, exile has come, the center has not held and takes more and more work to sustain. What once honored its many differences and gifts has splintered, each looking to confirm its own before affirming another. The very surety of parity desired now comes back to bite far harder than the labor needed to bind compassion to every-day varieties of lived experience.
False enthusiasm keeps deep joy at bay. No matter how loudly we sing the same song it can’t be loosed from walls of silence intended to protect those within—turning the sanctuary into an echo-chamber with naught to offer beyond. Priests groan; youth grieve; blame grows.
Without turning differences into community, we are controlled by denied differences defining a small and smaller realm of participation. More and more discrimination to protect an ever smaller range of acceptable behavior transgresses G*D’s prerogative for steadfast love, especially relevant in the midst of creation’s variety. The descendants of Eden have again scattered themselves through a failed hubris of building a babbling code of “holiness” within a larger Holiness all around. We have been bound by the eternal enemy of self-magnification.
A grandeur of Spirit has departed the construct of Church. Starving the body has us hearing voices of danger in every direction. Finally we sit down alone feeling as persecuted as we have persecuted.
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In this silence we feed on our shame of trusting our blame of all that wasn’t yet us to keep us pure. Our digital approach to holiness in an analogic abundance failed. Where is hope now?
Is steadfast love trustworthy after all? Are mercies we claim sharable with those we don’t like?
If love and mercy are new every morning, we can dare to lift our eyes from blame and join in seeking their application in our infinite variety.
Our surety striving let us down, again. Let us rest in hope beyond uniformed peace. Let us seek a common good beyond today’s limits. Let us live in communion beyond control.