Communion

Glanced to the back cover of “A Margin of Silence” to see a description of the Anglican Communion:

…one of the ‘instruments of communion’ which holds Anglicans in ‘bonds of affection’…

I’m afraid we haven’t seen a lot of that recently now have we? The events of the recent General Synod is one example. Enough nattering already, we need to incorporate stillness into our lives and love one another. We need to stop talking and start acting. Yes we need to communicate, but we’re going round in circles. And we need to be respectful, and we need to listen to one another before we make instant decisions and put up walls against things that don’t seem immediately right to us.

My first full day back in England after my trip. I logged onto Tumblr to look at my updates, and found (from Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, which I love,) this:

The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That’s where you need to go.

This reminded me of Moitessier speaking of the unitive experience of solitude, not as a form of isolation, but of communion with God and with all things around him.

This in turn reminded of Sara Maitland writing about depth:

…there is an interior dimension to silence, a sort of stillness of heart and mind which is not a void but a rich space.

This in turn reminded me of Rowan writing in “Silence and Honey Cakes” of a truly healthy Church:

The church’s aim is to be a community… A healthy church is one in which we seek to stay connected with God by seeking to connect others with God; one in which we ‘win God’ by converting one another, and we convert one another by our truthful awareness of frailty. And a church that is living in such a way is the only church that will have anything different to say to the world; how deeply depressing if all the church offered were new and better ways to succeed at the expense of others, reinstating the scapegoat mechanisms that the cross of Christ should have exploded once and for all.

And this in turn (I told you there were a lot of sparks going on in my head!) reminded me of Sara Maitland informing me that the words ‘healthy’, ‘whole’, and ‘holy’, derive from the same root. The kind of Church with these three qualities is truly healing.

I have a portfolio of Good Newspaper clippings, and THIS IN TURN (hehe) reminded me of one of the articles I stuck into it…

Churches in South Sudan, which becomes independent on 9 July, have committed themselves to “re-engage in mediating” to resolve conflicts in the country, the general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, the Revd Ramadan Chan, said this week. Mr Chan said that the council would send delegations of church leaders to conflict zones to initiate dialogue between the government and militia groups.

– CHURCHTIMES 20.05.11

When I read it and stuck it in, I was thrilled. Now of course it’s good news, but also, I thought it said meditation not mediation. Yeah. So I was imaging a load of people sitting in a circle embracing quiet and learning to connect with one another. Hmm. Well, they still are learning to do that, except through mediation! And maybe through mediation – and perhaps some meditation too – the Anglican Communion can become more like a communal body again.

Google defines Communion as the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, esp. when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. Yes intimate sharing, not shouting matches. Please God can we remember what communion is all about?

Looking recently through some ordinand (wanna-be priest) questions, one was “What do you like most about the Church of England?” And the answer that came to my mind was “The Eucharist. Communion.”

And as I talked about it in my sermon on the wedding of Cana at Galilee, religion (belief in a God, in Love, in the Source of Life) should be more about relationship and less about archetypal religion. Communion comes not simply in drinking the wine that Jesus gave to us, but the relationship he shows us. God is not a wrathful being who punishes and predestines people to go to Hell. God is not that being. What God is, is love. God draws us into him, to her, through communion wine, through communion conversations, through communion hugs, through the communion of life.

For the Anglican Communion to truly live to its name, we need to accept the diversity within us and stop panicking, stop making everything so complicated, stop shouting, stop speeding. Slow down Anglicans. Slow down world. And listen to the nearly 18 year old even though she isn’t a Bishop, please, because we’re all equal children in God’s eyes, and I don’t want us to fight one another, even if you don’t think I should be a priest because a woman and you want to condemn my Uncle for being gay. I want us to respect one another, and be at peace. Be in communion…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

– Prayer of St Francis

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