The language of crisis

Proper 22C
Habakkuk 1:1-13, 2:1-4
Psalm 37:3-10
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Luke 17:5-10

We are all now thoroughly aware that there is a “crisis” in the Anglican Communion. People on all sides of the issue are saying, with Habakkuk, “How long, O Lord?” The language of crisis is a way of selling newspapers, or of driving political wedges. I am not convinced there is a crisis.

Several years ago, Archbishop Ndungane visited our diocese. The Offices of the Bishop sent out an email that Ndungane was available to preach on a certain Sunday. No one responded, so they sent out the note again. By now, it was late in the game, so I responded. We had little time to prepare a reception (we did put something on) or a special liturgy. I remember meeting the Archbishop on the side walk, and nervously asking if he wanted to preside at Eucharist, as it is always a bishop’s prerogative to preside at table. He thanked me, but allowed that he would rather just preach and then be in the congregation as it were. He had only brought office vestments.

I recall being all thumbs at the altar (an Archbishop sitting over there at the sedilia!), but getting through. Somehow, I managed not to drop the host as I communicated him. Between services, we had an adult forum. Gene Robinson had just been consecrated, and several people asked the Archbishop if communion would break. He paused for a minute, and then said, “Your Rector and I are in communion. I have just taken communion from him. Nothing can change that.” No crisis here. Whatever others might do, communion is made up of such simple acts.

Jesus reminds the apostles that they are servants. Faith is as much about loyalty and doing what we owe to do, as it is about feeling or thinking. The difficulty comes in trying to remain loyal to all our brothers and sisters. Now, we plead, “Lord, increase our faith!” Habakkuk assures us that vision is coming. It may be delayed, but come it will. The righteous will live by their loyalty in the meantime. It may be hard and thankless work to live that way, but the language of crisis only divides.

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