April Journal: Third Sunday after Easter

We gathered together this last week in the Bay Area for the Thirty-second Synod of the Diocese of the Western States, along with the Diocese of the Southwestern States, Anglican Province of Christ the King. There were numerous events from Tuesday through Friday, forming a rosary of prayer linking the faithful.

The week made me appreciate not only the fellowship of Christians in our own little part of Christendom but throughout the world. Those who believe in the creeds crafted by the apostles are linked by love, the love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Those who live those creeds, and partake of the sacraments ordained by Christ, commune with the saints of the past, the present, and the future. They commune with eternal love.

And yet we are bound by time, as our preacher explained this morning. When the risen Christ says to the disciples that “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:16+) they are confused by the time sequence. Yet Christ speaks of eternal time: his ascension to Heaven and then his return, his Second Coming to earth, an event to look forward to. Still, Our Lord doesn’t speak of hours, day, and weeks, months or years. He speaks of a different kind of time.

And in the mean-time we are bound to one another by love, the love of the Holy Trinity.

I have found, since the rise of the Internet and the worldwide web that literally weaves us together in some kind of electronic cloud, that this binding together leaps national borders and languages and cultures, joining Christians of all races, everywhere. We see them on social media, on blog platforms, in e-books, in e-magazines and podcasts. It is a worldwide Christian web, spun like a golden thread, pulling us together in some kind of miracle.

So that at this moment in history when many of us feel isolated and divided from not only our historical past but our present families and friends, we have been given this family of God that gathers together. Thus, we Christians have become the care-givers for our world, offering healing to those who seek division and death. We offer the salve of salvation to rub upon their souls, the love of the living God, the food of the living Christ in the bread and the wine.

And so in my own life I have encountered sisters and brothers of faith throughout the world through this e-cloud of witnesses. They are my family, those who share my deepest desires for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We pray for the unborn, that they may be born and given a chance of life and liberty and happiness, to be loved as we love. We pray for the mothers of the unborn, that each one is filled with the grace of knowing she carries her own child within her womb. We celebrate life together, and in so doing, sing our song of love.

The golden thread spun among us weaves the past into the present. As I spoke this last week of the history of our Berkeley Seminary and Chapel, I could see a golden thread linking us to those who came before us, those who listened to God’s voice in their lives and learned to love as God loves. For in prayer, that opening the door of our heart and mind to God, we allow God to enter in, to live within us, to enliven us with his life. Only then can we hear his voice. Only then can we spin our own golden thread to join the others from anywhere and everywhere throughout the world.

I have found that listening involves patience. Listening requires silence and, in the quiet, we wait, watch, and wonder what will happen next. What door will open in my life that God desires me to enter? I wonder at this marvel, in our own time, and hopefully, in time and at the right time. I don’t want to miss the door opening. I don’t want to miss a single moment of this marvel-ous world Christ has given us to inhabit, the world of life and love.

And so I pray an Our Father upon waking and an Our Father before sleeping at night. I have added other prayers to my memory treasures, from Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, for I can witness to doors opening in my life, unexpectedly, seemingly random, yet in truth, divinely purposeful.

Many doors opened in the last year, for example, doors to knowing Christians in other states, in other countries (Francis Etheredge in England, Monique Robles in Colorado, Michelle Easton and Cindy Rushing in Washington D.C.) How did this happen? How is it I saw a link here, a post there, a friend of a friend who seemed to be singing to me? Grace. Grace notes played a melody of Grace. I heard the song, because of daily prayer and weekly Eucharist (the greatest of all prayers).

And so we watch and wait, listen and love. We enter through gates to others who do the same, and, one day, joining hands, we will enter Jerusalem to sing of our golden thread weaving our liturgy of love.We will sing to our Christ Jesus on his throne in glory.

All of this I saw this last week in our gathering of faithful, sacramental, Anglo-Catholic Christians. Deo Gratias.

+ + +

Let’s help Francis Etheredge and his remarkable family attend the World Youth Day in Lisbon. Visit Francis Etheredge and World Youth Day.

To see the dramatic work pediatrician and bioethicist Dr. Robles is doing to help children and parents, visit her site, Human Dignity Speaks.

To visit Cindy and Michelle’s outstanding program for college women see Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women.

To read the history of St. Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Theological College and Chapel: History of SJATC and Chapel in Berkeley.

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