Archives July 2009

Geek Station rides again!

DSC_5352

That time of year has come around again, when I disappear from the parish for two weeks, but most definitely not on a holiday. This is Prep Week for the National Youth Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, which begins in a week’s time. I cart a couple of computers, a few terabytes of hard disk, and some film equipment (known as the Geek Station) up to Northern Norfolk and somehow, we end up with a fabulous, wonderful, spiritual pilgrimage for a whole host of young people. Numbers are down this year, which I think can be put firmly down to Coughing Pig Death Swine Flu, but still more than 750 young people will be on the most important part of their (and if I have to be honest, my) year. The Ministry Team are a powerful group of young people, with Fr. Wealands, Fr Peter and Iain keeping them (and me) in order.

I left early this morning, thanks to the cover for Mass in the Parish provided by my colleague, and got here in time for lunch, set up and now a pause before the pub work starts.

Expect more photos and comments through this week and if you are tapped into Facebook, keep an eye on

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=29404540682

where a lot of the fun will be recorded!


Geek Station rides again!

DSC_5352

That time of year has come around again, when I disappear from the parish for two weeks, but most definitely not on a holiday. This is Prep Week for the National Youth Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, which begins in a week’s time. I cart a couple of computers, a few terabytes of hard disk, and some film equipment (known as the Geek Station) up to Northern Norfolk and somehow, we end up with a fabulous, wonderful, spiritual pilgrimage for a whole host of young people. Numbers are down this year, which I think can be put firmly down to Coughing Pig Death Swine Flu, but still more than 750 young people will be on the most important part of their (and if I have to be honest, my) year. The Ministry Team are a powerful group of young people, with Fr. Wealands, Fr Peter and Iain keeping them (and me) in order.

I left early this morning, thanks to the cover for Mass in the Parish provided by my colleague, and got here in time for lunch, set up and now a pause before the pub work starts.

Expect more photos and comments through this week and if you are tapped into Facebook, keep an eye on

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=29404540682

where a lot of the fun will be recorded!


Coughing Pig Death: 31 Malaria: 2.7 million

The Archbishops sent around a letter today suggesting that now is the time to stop sharing the chalice in response to fears about Swine Flu (or H1N1 as it should properly be referred to, the pigs have little to do with it now). In any infection situation, sharing the peace is more risky than a silver chalice (which inhibits viruses) and alcohol (which also inhibits viruses), but since when has common sense ruled in any of this debate.

This graph (from the BBC News website) shows a sharp rise in ‘consultations’ with GPs for flu (of any kind). Note that this is just people who come with ‘flu’ – most of these people have a cough.

_46104835_swine_flu_rates_23.07.09

Suddenly, every cough is “Swine Flu” and every hangover is an excuse for a couple of days off work. I am sorry, but all this panic only prevents the genuinely ill from accessing health care.

Yes, infection is spreading, but for the most part the symptoms are mild. It is flu, after all. Real flu will put you in bed for a week. Yes, some people will die from this flu, as 3000 people will die this winter from seasonal flu. These are the very old, the very young and the immunosuppressed.

I remember all the hoo-ha about HIV in the 1980s and how people were worried about sharing the chalice then (it was something to do with icebergs, if I remember the Ads rightly), and we were given sensible advice, carried on and – do you know – the rates of HIV transmissions didn’t increase through sharing the chalice, it had more to do with sex.

In the meantime, this year, Malaria will kill 2.7 million people worldwide. Shouldn’t we be ashamed of that, when Malaria is treatable, but no, it’s a poor person’s disease, and they don’t count. A few thirty-somethings cough a bit and feel slightly under the weather and suddenly the masks are out and the Tamiflu is on back order.

I am personally not inclined to take all these drastic steps, myself. However, I am not presiding this weekend, so it isn’t my call. If it were me, it would be business as usual. Business as usual until dozens of people were dying a week, and not just the vulnerable and at-risk, but healthy people: that is what really marks a Pandemic.

This is a virus. Its best treatment is rest and isolation. If you have got a Summer cold, then don’t panic, don’t call the Flu Hotline because you have a cold. Take some lemsip and have an early night. If you feel a bit better in the morning, then it isn’t flu, don’t panic and get on with your life.

Sorry if this offends you, and it sounds as though I am taking lightly the people who will actually die, but death is a part of life and people die from flu each year. It isn’t as preventable as Malaria and that is what makes me angry and upset. Now, stop wasting your GP’s time and get back on with your life: you’re not going to die just yet.


Lord's Prayer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxWpA4Iv87o

It’s Old English and I upset Sarah B as she is a Medievalist and doesn’t want Old English to scare people. I think it’s challenging but in a good way. This came out of trying to merge lots of different languages saying the Lord’s Prayer at the same time which was an abject failure.

Soundtrack is “Come to Daddy” by Aphex Twin, which I *do* find disturbing.


Journey of Faith – Resources available for Download

I think that Fresh Expressions must have written about my Journey of Faith course, and as a result a couple of people have written to me about it, as though it was some shiny pre-packaged course like Alpha or Emmaus. Well, I don’t work like that, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to control Doctrine by Copyright as HTB do, use anything you find useful here and discard the rest: the proclamation of the Gospel is the most important thing and I don’t care how we do it! So in response to their requests, you can download all of the materials from the AgnusDei website and adapt it. You still need to make up the words around my slides, but that would sound best coming from you anyway…

road

Note that we are a deeply sacramental, strongly inclusive church in the Anglocatholic Tradition. This course reflects that charism, and I recognise that it does not suit all; in particular our outrageous use of the sacramental life as a means of enabling outsiders to encounter God in Mystery and Transcendence: the Mass is, for us, Missional.
So:

This is the link to where you can download the materials for your own adaptations:

http://www.agnusdei.org.uk/index.php?id=1&rootpage=ZmlsZWFkbWluL3ZpZGVvL0pvdXJuZXlPZkZhaXRo

If you download the zip file which contains Microsoft Publisher documents of the outlines and brochures etc, and the slideshows in Powerpoint format.

The videos also listed on that download page need to be in the same folder as the slideshow, otherwise the embedded videos will not play.

This resources website (which contains all of the blesséd stuff) runs off my broadband, so it’s not super-fast but you should be able to get what you need in good time.

The films (which obviously might need to be modified if a younger audience is involved – Priest is a very good, but mature only film) I tend to buy cheap, share around the group. You might have heard of a program called DVDShrink.

Session 1:    Bruce Almighty
Session 2:    Brother Son, Sister Moon
Session 3:    The Miracle Maker
Session 4:    The Shawshank Redemption
Session 5:    Amelie
Session 6:    Wings of Desire (German, NOT the schmalzy US remake)
Session 7:    Priest
Session 8:    Chocolat

This is the outline

Welcome
This is a short course to introduce (or re-introduce!) you to the basics of the Christian faith. It is relaxed, friendly and non-judgemental and aims to cover a broad range of issues and topics, supported by clips from film and television.

Each session is designed to be highly interactive and flexible . It is not like school! A chance for you to ask all those awkward questions that you have wanted to ask for years

The sessions will cover the following areas:

Session 1
What is the Point?
Glimpses of God and experiences of prayer. Why bother with God?

Session 2
Father
Creation. Free Will. Heaven and Hell and all points in between. Our beginning and our destination of this journey.

Session 3
Son
The outrageous idea of God becoming Man. The fascinating Jesus. The challenging teaching of Christ and why it still applies. He is our roadmap for this journey.

Session 4
Spirit
That holy book. Authority and inspiration. The power of God in our lives. Different views on what “The Bible says…”

You will note our deeply Scriptural, but Inclusive approach which characterises our Charism. We make no apologies for taking the bible seriously but not necessarily literally.

Session 5
The Mass
A teaching celebration of the Eucharist in Church. As we celebrate, we discuss how it is put together and why we do some of those things.

You need a Priest for this. Although I have done this well on my own, I have also found it advantageous to have my colleague celebrate and me ‘interrupt’ with teaching points. Handout for this.

Session 6
Angels, Saints, Prophets & Patriarchs
…and Our Lady! The saints as model, guide and support. Make your own prayer beads and learn how to use them.

I used to have a video of me making these beads, but it appears lost. Maybe I need to remake that… Beads, Strings, Crosses, very easy to do!

Session 7
The Sacramental Life
What are these mysterious sacraments? Why are they important and why do so many of them involve strong smelling oil? A look at the sacramental life of the Church and how it equips us for the journey of life.

Session 8
The Mission
Struggling with the Christian life. Sharing the story and walking the walk. Can I be a Christian and not go to Church? The call of the Gospel to each of us.

Of course, being highly flexible, it veers off in all directions! I have found this Spirit-guided approach to be most illuminating! We are able to explore all sorts of areas of faith, life and witness which when armed with a Jerusalem Bible, Google and an Interlinear NT can go anywhere!

There! See where that takes you!

Brochure2


Blesséd Trinity – Mass for S. Gregory of Nyssa

We are long past the Feast of Holy Trinity, but in celebration of the work of S. Gregory of Nyssa, whose principal contribution was an understanding of that mystery, we celebrate a Mass of the Trinity

Gathering:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B6kA2kepek

Introduction:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AndLNmeBlrI

In the name of the +Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Lord be with you

And also with you

My dear friends in Christ. We gather together this evening to ponder a great mystery: the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Today is the feast day of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, who was born at Caesarea in what is now Turkey around the year 330, the child of an aristocratic Christian family.

Unlike his elder brother Basil, he was academically undistinguished, but ultimately proved to be the most original of the group of the theologians known as the Cappadocian Fathers. He was introduced to the spiritual life by his elder sister Macrina who exercised a formative influence upon him, and with whom he maintained close bonds of friendship throughout his life. It was she who, after the death of their father, converted the household into a sort of monastery on one of the family estates.

Gregory married a deeply spiritual woman, Theosebia, and at first refused ordination, choosing to pursue a secular career. He was ordained only later in life, and in 372 was chosen to be bishop of Nyssa. In the year 379 both his brother Basil and his sister Macrina died, and this deeply affected him; but out of this darkness emerged a profound spirituality. The Cappadocian Fathers: Gregory, Basil and Gregory Nazianzius are most recognised for their discernment of the Holy Trinity, a reaching out towards a mystery beyond our comprehension.

For Gregory, God is met not as an object to be understood, but as a mystery to be loved. He died in the year 394.

So giving thanks to God, for his life, work and witness and seeking to reach out ourselves towards the mystery of God, let us worship…

Screen: reconcile


Penitential Rite:

Video: Prayers of the Saints

Equipment: Balti Dishes and Charcoal, Incense

So, my dear friends, we prepare to become enveloped by God in these Holy and Sacred Mysteries by first calling to mind our sins.

We offer our sinfulness, our weakness, our addiction up to Almighty God, wrapped in this incense, which rises towards the throne of God.

We add incense to the charcoals to fire away our sins. (Possible fade at 6.25min)

Absolution:

Your forgiveness is so real, you can smell it…

Screen: you are forgiven

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to

absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of

his great mercy forgive you all your offences; and by his

authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins:

+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy

Spirit.

The Lord has put away all your sins, and of your charity, pray for me, a sinner also

Amen

Collect:

https://www.vimeo.com/5663960

Let us pray…

Lord of eternity, creator of all things,
in your Son Jesus Christ
you open for us the way to resurrection
that we may enjoy your bountiful goodness:
may we who celebrate your servants Gregory and Macrina
press onwards in faith to your boundless love
and ever wonder at the miracle of your presence among us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Amen

Word:

Matthew 28:16-20

Video: Great Commission. Reading live

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP-H4EhdUDI

The Lord be with you

And also with you

The Gospel of Matthew

16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you, O Christ

Intercession:

Equipment: Strips of paper, Felt Pens

I wasn’t allowed this one on Youtube because of the Amanda Palmer sample on the soundtrack. Vimeo are much better

https://www.vimeo.com/5663975

The people write their intercessions on the strips of paper

Start handing out paper strips and pens

If you want to write down your prayers, what would it look like?

A shopping list?

Would it be more like a doodle?

Would your prayers form a little sketch?

A spider diagram?

A single word?

Logical in structure? Random or chaotic?

Does it matter?

Handing out finishes

Before you write anything down, pause and reflect.

What is your main concern?

What do you need to bring before God?

For yourself.

For others.

For the Church.

For the world.

For the sick, the ailing, the addicted, the troublesome

For the dead and the mourning..

We do not pray alone.

We join these prayers with all the others written tonight.

Weaved together. Linked. Joined.

Joined with the angels, the saints, the prophets, the patriarchs.

Joined with the prayers of our Blesséd Lady…

Hail Mary,Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

How did they turn out?

No need to sign your prayers

God knows.

He knows your needs,

Your desires

Your concerns…

…and he listens.

He responds.

Whether you prayed a picture, a list, a diagram, a single word…

God responds.

Maybe Yes

Maybe No

Maybe Not Yet

Not always the answer to your prayers that you want.

…but he answers.

Always.

Amen

Meditation:

Sr Jane Louise SSM’s Ikon Meditation

During which the chains will be linked together and at the end wrapped around the altar

Peace:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjTebaBwGkk

In the dark catacombs, sheltering from persecution and the sword, the faithful met to bring Christ into their midst. They greeted their brothers and sisters in baptism with a kiss of peace, a further communion, a closer unity as community, and they share something special, unique and holy.

At this point a text message “The Peace of the Lord be always with you. Share this.” is sent to all those who have given their numbers at the beginning.


Offertory:

Matt Maher – Litany of the Saints (sung a capella)

As the bread and wine are brought haphazardly to the front through the congregation

St Gregory Pray for us

St Basil Pray for us

St Thomas Pray for us

Holy Mary Pray for us

Ora Pro Nobis Ora Pro Nobis

St Simon, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Peter, pray for us

John Keble, pray for us

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

St Faith, pray for us

St John, pray for us

Blesséd Francis, pray for us

St Paul, pray for us

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis

Ora Pro Nobis, Ora Pro Nobis


Eucharistic Prayer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9FZpgdpYuA

1 The Lord be with you

and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

2 Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,

we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You renew the Church in every age by raising up men and women outstanding in holiness, living witnesses of Your unchanging love.

Saint Gregory brought us close to your mystery,

And taught us to love you as Glorious Trinity: three in one

3 We joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of Your Godhead.

You have revealed Your glory as the glory also of Your Son

and of the Holy Spirit:

three Persons equal in majesty,

undivided in splendour,

yet one Lord, one God,

ever to be adored in Your everlasting glory.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven,

we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise:

4 Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

5 Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;

grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,

and according to your holy will,

these gifts of bread and wine

may be to us the +body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,

took bread and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:

6 Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me. +

7 In the same way, after supper

he took the cup and gave you thanks;

he gave it to them, saying:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me. +

8 Praise to you, Lord Jesus:
Dying you destroyed our death,

rising you restored our life:

Lord Jesus, come in glory.

9 And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,

his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins of the whole world;

rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension,

and looking for his coming in glory,

we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

10 As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,

we bring before you this bread and this cup

and we thank you for counting us worthy

to stand in your presence and serve you.

11 Send the Holy Spirit on your people

and gather into one in your kingdom

all who share this one bread and one cup,

so that we, in the company of Our Blesséd Lady,

Saint Thomas the Apostle, Saint John the Baptist

and all the saints,

may praise and glorify you for ever,

through Jesus Christ our Lord;

12 by whom, and with whom, and in whom,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,

for ever and ever.

Amen.

Lord’s Prayer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tyT7IvcxGM

Fraction

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ

Though we are many, we are one body because we share in the one bread

Agnus Dei:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVbdzqOrOjg

Invitation:

This is the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, blessed are those who are called to his supper

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed

Communion Antiphon:

St Paul reminds Titus:

Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured.

Titus 2. 7, 8

Communion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPX9clcLLAw


Post Communion Prayer:

Let us pray…

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servants Gregory and Macrina
to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Dismissal:

Dismissal Video 2

End:

Polyphonic Spree (I expect) as usual


Catch Crabs with Fr. Simon washed out!

Yes, sadly due to the unpredicablness of the weather we abandoned the Crabbing Competition down at the Hardway 🙁

Instead a few of us brought the sandwiches we had made and ate them in Church whilst we showed the Children Bedknobs and Broomsticks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPmESnXI7Vw

I think the adults enjoyed it just as much.

The flowers today were especially lovely, not bought in, but from the garden of Veronica. Well done, I say.

ste_flowerarrangement_july2009Mass was a lovely friendly affair again, with a very good sermon from Caroline our Ordinand on placement. I hope to be able to reproduce the text later, and possibly even the audio.

Blesséd tonight at S. Thomas the Apostle. Praying for a congregation.


Catch Crabs with Fr. Simon washed out!

Yes, sadly due to the unpredicablness of the weather we abandoned the Crabbing Competition down at the Hardway 🙁

Instead a few of us brought the sandwiches we had made and ate them in Church whilst we showed the Children Bedknobs and Broomsticks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPmESnXI7Vw

I think the adults enjoyed it just as much.

The flowers today were especially lovely, not bought in, but from the garden of Veronica. Well done, I say.

ste_flowerarrangement_july2009Mass was a lovely friendly affair again, with a very good sermon from Caroline our Ordinand on placement. I hope to be able to reproduce the text later, and possibly even the audio.

Blesséd tonight at S. Thomas the Apostle. Praying for a congregation.


Does Inclusivity smack of Moral Relativism?

fire-2007A comment to a recent post suggested that Inclusivity equates to moral relativism. The accusation of moral relativism sits alongside that no-win question “Have you stopped beating your wife?” – say Yes and you say you have beaten in the past, say No and you imply you are still beating… But I want to ask (in my usual, poor standard of theology) whether moral relativism and inclusivity are opposites. I suppose it hinges on whether moral absolutism is used as a euphemism for “swallow the bible whole”. We must recognise Scripture as a variety of writings, divinely inspired, but the work of humans. They are written by humans with agenda, purpose and for different reasons. The Church has embraced some of these ancient writings as canonical, but no-one set out to write anything for the canon itself. This means not that the Bible is not the word of God, but that it contains some of the words of God and some other words as well (Psalm 137:9 – dashing the brains of your enemies babies against a rock as the word of God – hmmm, maybe not). God has continued to say a lot of other words, through the Church, through the Saints, through the work of the Holy Spirit.

I have been thinking about this and I consider that there are absolute truths, and there are cultural layers placed on top of those truths. The key is to separate them out and identify which is which (and that is not the same as saying which ones I like/which ones matter and choosing a set).

Christ’s completion of the law, borne on the cross transcends the cultural norms of that, this or any age and places greater emphasis on our relationship with the divine Godhead which reaches out to us. It all boils down to this: Love God, Love Others.

I don’t see that as relative, rather as absolute.

Tattoos (Lev 19:27), shellfish (Lev 11:10), temple prostitution (Lev 18:22), making your wife sleep in a red tent in the garden for four days a month (Lev 15 19-30), are all cultural things, designed for a nomadic people feeling their way towards God. Jesus completed that, thank God and frees us to encounter God openly.

My reading of Scripture calls me to ask what the text is saying as the word of God and as the word of its time. I pray that the Holy Spirit gives a sense of discernment between what is truly of God, and what is clouded by mankind and his culture.

My proof text is John 10:10 “I came that you may have life, life in all its fulness”. That is an absolute. If any man-made or biblical commandment hinders that, then it fails the Jesus test. If it damages or hurts others, take advantage of the vulnerable or limits our own approach to God, then it cannot be from God. This inclusive approach is actually more challenging because it rejects the implic dishonesty of closeting our true selves (and I think this means far more than just sexuality, for far more of our natures are masked than we care to admit). The non-inclusive approach says “as long as you stay in the closet, denying yourself, you’ll be fine” and all those post-gay movements just seek to perpetuate the dishonesty, where as the inclusive approach says “be as God intended you to be, and live your life right by God”.

That means, I suspect, that I too am a Moral Absolutist, but not like that.


Sermon for Society of Catholic Priests Chapter Mass: Friday of Ordinary 15

Text: Matthew 12:1-8

“Here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple”

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son,and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You might be forgiven for thinking that by the time you get around to opening today’s Church Times, it might be all over.  If you read Bishop Tom Wright’s article in the Times this week, responding to the decision of the Episcopal Church of the USA to recognize that God calls men and women, young and old, black and white, straight, gay, lesbian or transgendered, in fact that God calls everyone to enter into a relationship with him, if you read about his description of the “Train Crash”, then you might be fooled into thinking that this was the end of days…

That the Temple of Anglicanism was finished. Done. Over.

And surprisingly, it is still here. The world has not yet slid into ruin, and even as the Americans find the right words to bless same-sex relationships (rather than just let us make the words up when we gather in secret to perform these rites), the Church remains. Anglicanism, that broad collection of constantly disagreeing and dysfunctional party lines, is still with us.

…and the reason is because the Church, the ekklesia, the people of God have far more to do in the Mission of the Gospel than to sit around arguing about sex and sexuality. My day (and I know yours too) is filled not with diatribes on who can sleep with who, but with schools, and families, and the elderly, the isolated, the alone, the disaffected and the distanced-from-God.

The proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord does not hinge on these matters, these distractions. Our purpose in this society is to look beyond these arguments, rise above the carping of FCA and their ilk, Anglican Mainstream and the Stand Firm blog, go far beyond the threats of schism and concentrate on our purpose here, away from the hurley burley of political churchmanship and get on with the main task of evangelizing, of baptizing and administering the sacraments to the people here who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today’s Gospel challenges all that churchliness that we are so fond of as Clergy, challenges all those Pharisaical tendencies which haunt us always and call us to see something greater than the temple of the Church of England.

My dear friends, Christ is indeed in our midst, on this altar in a few minutes, at the hands of the body of concelebrating clergy and made known in broken bread and wine outpoured. Something greater than the institution is present in the most holy sacrament of the altar.

They might split the church I love, they might throw the likes of me out because of my progressive views, they might finally legislate against Blesséd and it’s wildly inclusive, administer-the-sacrament-to-everyone-and-leave-it-to-God subversiveness and yet, because Christ is here, on this altar, doing his saving work, I will not worry.

None of us need worry – worry that the evangelicals and the spikes want us and ECUSA out, because Christ will see us through this, and will heal division, unite factionalism, overcome politics, because Jesus Christ is bigger than all that, and he is present. Here. Now.

Amen