23 April 2010

A good summary of the "GS" meeting and Good St. George (and Göran, too)

Please take a few minutes and visit Changing Attitudes for a good summary of the recently completed meeting of the schismatics. Of particular interest is the exposition of certain "untruths" being propagated by one Mr. David Virtue (A flagrant adulterer). It's worth reading.
David Virtue reported that “Everyone is upbeat, cheerful and at peace. The archbishops and bishops are smiling; they are not fighting liberal and revisionist archbishops and bishops who have a different religion. Only God knows what they really believe, but whatever truncated Christianity they have, you won't find it here. There is no tension here. There is joy and peace. No one is being asked to reconcile the irreconcilable. This is Anglicanism at its finest."

This is David’s typical idyllic, fantasy version of the reactionary and progressive parts of the Anglican Communion.

And then … on Tuesday Greg Griffiths (who wasn’t in Singapore) posted on Stand Firm that “...after Archbishop Rowan Williams' video address to the Global South-to-South Encounter audience was over, there was silence. No one applauded, and glances around the room revealed lots of head-shaking and eye-rolling.”

David Virtue (who was there) sent an email to various people[.] David abuses Stand Firm and uses language which, if Changing Attitude used such language, he would torment us with for eternity.

The comments thread on both Stand Firm and VirtueOnLine usually display the most prejudiced opinions in the Communion and the most vitriol towards the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop, +Gene Robinson and the Episcopal church in general. Commentators now turned their fire on Greg for having posted David’s email in the first place and on David for attacking Stand Firm (not for the first time) and for using such abusive language.
The gobbledygook coming from the meetings final statement Fourth Trumpet is nothing new. In fact, not one new "thing" was spoken. Instead, it was the same vitriolic battle cries.

The Church Times has a report that focuses on the new Nigerian archbishop telling the gathering that they do not want "foreign" money - that they cannot be bought.
In the opening address, the Arch­bishop emphasised the “absolute necessity for economic empower­ment in the Global South”, and warned against “the treachery of another gospel which is afraid of and denies the deity of Christ”. “It is not God’s will that we re­main perpetually dependent on the handouts from the sacrifice and self-denial offerings of other people. More so, when sometimes these handouts are given with strong strings attached to buy loyalty or compromise on critical issues of faith. “We should dig deep wherever we are, and educate our members on the grave danger of living on other people’s resources. We must work together on equal partnership in the fellowship of the gospel, with whose who are sincere and who live according to the truth of the gospel. Grants, donations, gifts, and any form of assistance given rather patronisingly should be rejected.”

Perhaps this is a good place to quote former Archbishop of Capetown, South Africa, The Most Rev'd Desmond Tutu:

Good is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours, through him who loves us.

On a nicer topic, today is the Feast Day of St. George, patron of England. Let us seek his intercession in the current schismatic era.

Today is also our brilliant brother in the Lord, Göran Koch-Swahne's name day. Grattis, Göran!

(For those of you unfamiliar with the Swedish language, Göran is the Swedish version of the name George.)

22 April 2010

An excellent letter from the Bishop of Georgia

The following letter was written and sent to the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Georgia by the Rt. Rev'd Scott Benhase, Ordinary of the diocese. It was written in response to the election of the Very Rev'd Mary Glasspool as an assisting bishop for the Diocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Benhase also addresses the manner in which the Anglicans throughout history have lived with disagreements. The letter is well written and worthy of a read.

    21 April 2010

    To the People of the Diocese of Georgia:

    A few of our colleagues in the Diocese asked me if I gave my consent to the Reverend Canon Mary Glasspool's election as Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles. I did. While it is not usual for bishops to report on individual consents, I realize that for some people this is different, so I will try to explain how I came to give my consent. I cannot do so in a sound bite or even in a few sentences. Thus, you might wish to read this when you are not in a hurry.

    1. Prior to my election as the 10th Bishop of Georgia, my theology and practice on the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the Church was well-known. I do not understand homosexuality to be a barrier to any of the four orders of ministry in the Church. I have been quite clear in that theology and practice. So, my consent to Canon Glasspool's election was consistent with what you had already known about me.

    2. I would not have given my consent if I knew of any theology or practice of Canon Glasspool that was contrary to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Episcopal Church. Canon Glasspool has been a faithful priest of the Church for decades leading parishes to a renewed sense of their baptismal identity and purpose. More recently, she has served quite effectively as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Maryland. From my perspective, we need more bishops like Canon Glasspool who have had extensive experience in the leadership of parishes so they are better able to be strategic partners with congregational leaders for the growth and mission of our parishes.

    3. I am aware of some concern about the so-called moratorium. The House of Bishops did agree to a moratorium a number of years ago. That moratorium, however, was not one-sided. It was accepted in the context that certain of our Anglican brothers would refrain from crossing diocesan boundaries. While the House of Bishops exercised the restraint of the moratorium for seven years, others did not practice such restraint even for a year. So, in my judgment, the moratorium was no longing a compelling consideration. [Emphasis added]

    4. I, of course, recognize that some in the Diocese of Georgia disagree with my consent. I welcome that. Disagreement in the Church is hardly new. In some ways, Anglicanism was forged out of an unresolved disagreement in the Elizabethean Settlement. After Queen Elizabeth, Protestants and Catholics within Anglicanism did not somehow see their differences go away, but they were committed to living with one another and serving Jesus together in the church. They were willing to live with what they perceived as significant differences. In many ways, the challenge we face today is not new.

    5. I believe that this current dilemma we face needs to be seen and understood in the larger context and truthfulness of Church history and tradition. The catholic faith has always lived with differences while holding fast to the Nicene faith. For example, the post-Constantinian Church has lived with difference in how we interpret the Sixth Commandment. Some have insisted that all killing is wrong all the time. This is the so-called pacifist position. Others have insisted that there are times when violating the Sixth Commandment is the lesser of two evils. From this came the Just War constructs of St Augustine that provided ethical boundaries for the violation of the Sixth Commandment. We have had both positions held faithfully in this Church (with many nuances in between) and neither has insisted that the other is not welcome or that the other is not orthodox.

    6. More recently in my lifetime, we have had disagreement about violating Jesus' teaching on divorce. Jesus is clear: If one marries after divorce one commits adultery. That seems to be the plain sense of Scripture. Yet, many have recognized that while divorce is never a "good," sometimes it is the lesser of two evils for all parties. Others, however, still insist that Jesus' words must be interpreted plainly. There are still others in our Church that hold even more nuanced understandings about this that fit somewhere in between the two extremes. Yet, in all these, we remain together in the same Church and receiving God's gracious sacrament from the same altar.

    7. I understand our current dilemma in a similar historical context. Faithful people will disagree about this. I do not understand such disagreement as a problem to be solved, but a dilemma God is asking us to live with for the time being. There are faithful people in the Diocese of Georgia who are anxious for a definitive resolution. I do not believe that is possible right now and may not be in my lifetime on this earth. If that is true, how are we to live together with this dilemma? I think the answer to that question is this: We will live together just like the saints who have gone before us who heeded Blessed Paul's admonitions. We will love and honor one another. We will bear one another's burdens. We will not have a higher opinion of ourselves than we ought. We will not look only to our own concerns, but the concerns of others. We will forgive one another as we have been forgiven.

    8. There is a prayer in the Marriage Rite that has always touched me deeply. When praying for the newly married couple, the Church hopes that "their life together" may be "a sign of Christ's love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, that forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair." I see this as an image of our relationship together. I have been Bishop of this Diocese for three months now. In that sense, we are newlyweds together. Like in any relationship that is not worked at and nurtured, we can fall into patterns that lead to estrangement, guilt, and despair. You and I will work hard not to let that happen. We will seek unity, forgiveness, and joy. We will seek to make our life together as bishop and people "a sign of Christ's love for this sinful and broken world." Of course, we will not always achieve such virtues, but I know we will constantly seek them and commit ourselves to practicing them.

    As your Bishop, I am committed to leading this Diocese faithfully and effectively. I want those who have differences on the issue of human sexuality to know that I will not play favorites by rewarding those who agree with me or seeking to punish those who do not. All of us share in the mission of Jesus Christ together. All have an important role to play in that mission. I pray that we not allow whatever differences we have to distract us from taking the saving Gospel of Jesus to the world.

Thank you Bishop Benhase for an excellent letter. And thank you "Jon+" for sending me a copy of the letter.

21 April 2010

Bi archbishops exposed

A candid photo of the archbishop of Southeast Asia and former Archbishop Akinola. This photo is priceless. Make sure to read the Telegraph article accompanying the photo. Oh, and make sure to read the words on the painting behind Akinola.

My thanks to Thinking Anglicans for breaking the story. I wonder, do we send china or silver (no, no silver needed, the schismatics have stolen enough silver).

On a serious note, make sure to read Lisa's post on the so-called Global South meeting.

ELCA stuns the religious world

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pulled a fast one. While we were focused on the schismatic meeting of the schismatic Anglican primates, the ELCA's Church Council abolished all anti gay policies barring qualified GLBT people from ordained ministry - effective immediately,
After twenty-five years of deliberation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council has abolished its anti-gay policies, effective immediately.

Following from discussions at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly last summer, the ELCA will now allow people in same-sex relationships to serve as rostered leaders. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) human beings are no longer considered abominations but blessed church members with full standing. Same-sex partners and families can now fully participate in the ELCA Pension Plan.

The Church Council met 9-12 April in Chicago. It also authorized a rite to recognize the ministries of GLBT pastors who have already been ordained as "Extraordinary Lutheran Ministires."

The ELCA changed two sections in its rules governing ministry removing elibacy for thsoe who are homosexual. The new section read:

An ordained minister who is in a publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationship is expected to live in fidelity to his or her partner, giving expression to sexual intimacy within a publicly accountable relationship that is mutual, chaste, and faithful.

A passage on the sexual matters associated with clergy has also been changed to recognize same-sex relationships:

… chastity and abstinence are required outside of marriage or outside publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships, and chastity and fidelity are required within marriage or within such same-gender relationships.

The document revisions immediately put into practice what the Lutherans decided last summer, so the outcry among opponents has been muted. Indeed, only one member of the council abstained from the vote.

Keith A. Hunsinger, council member, Oak Harbor, Ohio, who said he does not agree with the sexuality decisions made in August 2009, announced April 11 that he had abstained on each vote on the documents.

He explained that he didn’t believe that the first drafts of the documents released last fall embodied the full range of decisions made at the 2009 assembly. “My conscience won’t allow me to vote for any of these documents, but as a member of the board of directors, I can’t vote against the will of the churchwide assembly,” he told the ELCA News Service.

However, Hunsinger told the council that the final forms of each document reflected “the breadth and depth” of the decisions, including the fact that “we agreed to live under a big tent,” and that multiple voices would be heard. “Because those documents now said that, I feel my ideas and I are still welcome in the ELCA,” he said.

Those who disagree with the actions have formed a new, smaller North American Lutheran Church. It is worth noting that the only reason for the creation of this Lutheran body is that gay and lesbian ministers are being accepted.

Good on the ELCA for it's decision to follow Jesus, not worship outdated science and tradition

FOr some background on this momentous moment, read Lutheran Fundamentalists headed out and A History of the ELCA

20 April 2010

Rowan Williams - embarrassment to the name Christian

The text of Mr Williams' video address to the schismatic faction of the Anglican Communion is out.
Greetings to you all, in the name of our risen Lord and Saviour.

You are meeting in this most precious season of the Christian year – the Easter season when we give thanks for the new creation revealed and made real for us in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. And we meet also praying in preparation for Pentecost for the renewed gift of the Holy Spirit in which alone we come fully alive to God and to one another in Jesus Christ.

I wish you every blessing in your meeting and I’m delighted that it’s happening at this particular moment, not only in the Christian year, but in the life of our Communion. I’m very sorry indeed that it’s not been possible for me to be with you physically. But I know that my greetings and best wishes will have been brought to you by our friends from the United Kingdom who are joining you on this occasion.

I want to comment on one or two things that relate to your agenda, and indeed to the agenda that we share as Anglicans in our worldwide fellowship.

The text of the Anglican Covenant has now been available for discussion for several months. As you know it’s the fruit of long, careful, prayerful discussion; the fruit of a sustained attempt on the part of so many people throughout our Communion to determine not only what it is that binds us together in terms of our faith, the authority we accord to scripture and tradition, but also what binds us humanly and specifically to one another in our fellowship, in our Communion – what it is that makes us one body, one community, able to speak to the world in the name of Christ.

The text of the [Anglican] Covenant is a whole. It is something which lays out the foundations of our faith, the language that we share, and the hopes that we share, but it also—we hope and pray—sets out a path for the future, a path of mutual attention, mutual respect, the kind of obedience to one another that the New Testament proposes for us, but so much in the Christian tradition also suggests – the careful listening to one another’s needs, and discernment of what we can say together, that is part not only in the life of the Church from time immemorial, but that has also been an important part of the life of many religious communities in the Benedictine tradition in which that mutual listening and obedience to one another has been so crucial. So one of my prayers for your meeting in these days is that you will discover something about that mutual obedience, the covenant with one another that comes out of our grateful acceptance of the covenant God makes with us in the blood of Jesus Christ.

Covenant, as many people have said, is an extraordinarily rich word. In your discussions during these days you’ll have had many opportunities to think about the richness of that word in Scripture and in the theological tradition. But as I reflected on it myself, one of the texts that I looked to was the association that St Paul makes in Romans 9.4 between adoption¸ glory, and covenant. He’s speaking there of the Jewish people: ‘from them’, he says (v.5), ‘comes the Messiah’, the Lord, the Incarnate God. In their life they have discovered adoption as children of God, the revelation of the glory of God, and the covenant reality which holds them to God and to one another. And I would like to think that as we Anglicans together reflect on covenant, we think also about adoption and about glory.

As Anglicans we, like all other Christians, understand our lives in Christ as being brought into that glorious liberty which belongs to the children of God – the liberty from self and sin, the liberty to pray and to praise without hindrance; to stand where Christ stands; to call God ‘Abba! Father!’ (Mark 14.36,Romans 8.15,Galatians 4.6), to speak with his voice and to breathe in his Spirit. We are adopted sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. And in that being drawn into the adoptive relationship with the Father, what happens is glory – the glory that in St John’s gospel Jesus assures he will give to his disciples because they have come to share his relation with God the Father (John 17.10).

So, to the world we show a new pattern of human life reconciled with the Father, free in the household of the Father to come to him with our prayer, with our praise, our petition, whenever we need and whenever we wish, confident of his reconciling and forgiving love. We show to the world that model of reconciled, forgiven life, and of bold and intimate prayer. And in doing so, the glory of God is reflected in us: the glory that Christ has with the Father before all time and to all eternity, now made real in the faces and the lives of ordinary people like you and me.

That new life is made real in us, and that glory is shown in us, because God has made a covenant with us – has promised in Jesus Christ to be with us when we turn to him, has promised that his merciful, forgiving, renewing strength will always be there for us, that his Spirit is never exhausted in re-creating us. It’s the covenant that makes us aware of our new status as the adopted sons and daughters of God, the covenant that is the foundation of glory being shown in us. And therefore it’s God’s covenant with us that is the basis of our mission, our confident readiness to share with the whole needy world the promise of being adopted as sons and daughters, the promise of glory. And as so much in Scripture hints, as we rediscover again and again that covenant that God has made with us, so we rediscover the covenant that binds us to one another. We share in that status of sons and daughters. We see glory in each other’s faces. And in our unity and our commitment to one another we show that God not only has a purpose for individuals, but that God has a purpose for the human family.

So when, as an Anglican Communion we seek to bind ourselves in covenant, we’re not simply making a contract, we’re not simply trying to solve problems. We’re trying to find a way of grounding our mission in a new way, in the recognition of that inter-weaving of adoption and glory that all Christians share.

So as you discuss the Covenant—and as the Covenant is discussed in your Provinces—I hope that that larger dimension will always be in people’s minds. I was particularly pleased to see the ways in which the titles of the various bible studies and lectures during your meeting reflected that sense that we need to go deeper into the idea of covenant. Few things could be more important for us. So, in all those discussions and reflections I wish you every blessing, and I look forward with great eagerness to hearing what you have discovered in your thinking and praying together.

But of course we are reflecting on the need for a covenant in the light of confusion, brokenness and tension within our Anglican family – a brokenness and a tension that has been made still more acute by recent decisions in some of our Provinces. In all your minds there will be questions around the election and consecration of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles . All of us share the concern that in this decision and action the Episcopal Church has deepened the divide between itself and the rest of the Anglican family. And as I speak to you now, I am in discussion with a number of people around the world about what consequences might follow from that decision, and how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind.

But I hope also in your thinking about this and in your reacting to it, you’ll bear in mind that there are no quick solutions for the wounds of the Body of Christ. It is the work of the Spirit that heals the Body of Christ, not the plans or the statements of any group, or any person, or any instrument of communion. Naturally we seek to minimize the damage, to heal the hurts, to strengthen our mission, to make sure that it goes forward with integrity and conviction. Naturally, there are decisions that have to be taken. But at the same time we must all—as indeed your own covering notes suggest for your conference—we must all share in a sense of repentance and willingness to be renewed by the Spirit.

So while the tensions and the crises of our Anglican Communion will of course be in your minds as they are in mine, I know from what you have written, what you have communicated about your plans and hopes for this conference, that you will allow the Holy Spirit to lift your eyes to that broader horizon of God’s purpose for us as Anglicans, for us as Christians, and indeed for us as human beings.

Adoption and glory: these are the treasures given to us in the very earthenware vessels of our discipleship with its varying failings and confusions. And yet God has promised to be faithful. And it’s his faithfulness that we celebrate at this Easter season, and as we wait for the seal of the Spirit at Pentecost.

May your prayers and your thoughts be part of a new Pentecost for the Anglican Communion, which will bind us in communion more deeply than ever, make us more faithful, effective and imaginative witnesses to God’s truth to the ends of the earth.

May God the Father bless you all, through the risen Christ, showering upon you the power of his Holy Spirit.

+ Rowan Cantuar:

© Rowan Williams 2010
It takes a lot to anger me, but this bit of drivel really angered me.

Obedience to one another? Since when is any Anglican in any province to be obedient to any Anglican in any other province?

He didn't say a word about the theft of TEC property and other assets, or the boundary crossing by the schismatic bishops. But then, he was playing to the heads of the theft ring, so of course he wouldn't be so crass as to mention theft.

Instead, he chose to focus on the evil TEC. Not a single word was said about the other "progressive" provinces who support TEC and also support same-gender rights in or outside the church. He certainly didn't mention his province which is very progressive in regards to clerical homosexuality. No, it's those damn Americans. One must wonder, why, exactly?

Note that he is in dialogue with certain people regarding the possible "consequences" the canonical election of an the Rev'd Ms. Glasspool will have. That is absolute nonsense and you may bet the farm Bob Duncan has his largest finger in that pie. After all, Duncan's life depends on the outcome of this drama.

It's taken years but I've finally lost the modicum of respect I had for the man. To put it in the vernacular of the UK, he is mental. As a representative of Jesus Christ to the world, he is an embarrassment.

Perhaps we should dialogue with certain people regarding the consequences of being the most inept Archbishop of Canterbury the Western Church has ever seen. Too bad the COE isn't a democracy where the people in the pews could ask for his removal. The Queen really needs to act before this git of an archbishop completely dismantles Anglican Spirituality.

18 April 2010

The Third Sunday of Easter - Misericordia

Easter III

The Acts 9:1-19a; Revelation 5:6-14; John 21:1-14

Introit: The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, alleluia, alleluia. -- (Ps. 32. 1). Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: praise is comely for the upright

Collect: O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Saul heard a voice from heaven. It was Jesus, whom he had been persecuting. It came suddenly, and a light from heaven flashed around him. The experience was so intense that Saul fell to the ground. The light was so strong that he was blinded. After his encounter with the light and the voice, Saul’s life was changed forever. Like Jacob after wrestling with an angel, even his name was changed. At his baptism, Saul regained his sight and took his new name. Saul the persecutor became Paul the advocate. Voices from heaven change everything.

John heard voices from heaven. In fact John journeyed into heaven and saw it all. How he survived such a startling vision is surprising. John stood among the four living creatures, the angels, the elders – there were myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. John heard them singing praises. And then he hears “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea.” Who could stand such glory? Who could endure the sound of everything that exists singing in full voice?

John shared his vision with the Church, and none of us have been the same since. Now we sing in Liturgy many of the songs John told us about. Now we hope to be in that number that praises the Lamb for eternity. Voices from heaven change everything.

In today’s world, if we reported hearing voices from heaven we would be suspected of fanaticism or mental instability. We know that nowadays folks don’t hear voices from heaven.

But wait; maybe we do hear voices from heaven. Maybe we encounter voices and visions of heaven everyday and just don’t notice them. We religious people, because we are rooted in scriptures that tell miraculous stories, expect our words and visions from God to come in flashes of light and thundering sound. And because these supernatural things are not seen and experienced, we don’t expect them anymore.

But maybe these voices and visions are right in front of us.

In the Gospel today, Peter and the apostles hear a voice from heaven. It is the resurrected Christ. This voice from heaven isn’t flashy or loud. The voice they hear tells them not to give up on catching fish. The voice they hear tells them, “Come and have breakfast.” What a scene: the risen Lord, the King of the Universe, the Alpha and the Omega, sitting on the beach making breakfast. Yes, it is miraculous that the apostles encounter their risen teacher. Yes, it is miraculous that they catch so many fish that they can’t hold them all. But in the midst of the miracles is simplicity. In the midst of these miracles is everyday life.

This is where Christ meets us now. He meets us in the movements of our life. We need to eat; we need to work. And the risen Christ is there among us. God chose to come among us, and even after the miracle of the resurrection, God chose to make us breakfast.

In the Collect for today we remember that the “blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread.” We prayed that God would “open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work.” Thus we prayed that God would open our eyes to what is right in front of us.

This is Incarnation: God appearing where we would never expect it. It starts with Advent in that encounter between Mary and Gabriel. It continues with the birth in the manger. Jesus Christ is part of everything we do. Our life is a miracle. Our life is a prayer.

The creation around us is also a prayer. We miss this all the time in our busy-ness and weariness. Look down to the ground and see grass and gravel: there’s God. Look up to the stars: there’s God. Look out among the people and buildings and trees: there’s God. Look at the person next to you: there’s God.

It isn’t that God is the gravel or grass, but the gravel and grass our infused with the creative love of God. It is that God in Christ was incarnate with creation in the form of a human being.

After the resurrection, Christ could have entered the cities and by-ways in glory and light. He could have really amazed the crowds and gotten more people to take seriously what the apostles were preaching. But he didn’t. He kept entering into everyday life. Everyday life is blessed.

From Christ’s birth to death, the Holy One is submitting to earthliness. Even at his Transfiguration, he stands in a glorious vision with Elijah and Moses and speaks of his impending crucifixion. The Alpha and Omega, who could “take over” the universe, always remains grounded.

Where are our voices from heaven? Where are our visions of glory? They are right in front of us. They are in creation. On this day as the secular calendar commemorates Earth Day, we raise our voices to thank God for creation. We remember that seeing a stream, a forest, a tiny garden in our back yard deserves a certain reverence. God’s creation deserves our love and respect.

God speaks to us now through earthly elements. In Christ, God chose bread, wine, and water to ground us in divine love. In water we are baptized and brought back to life and given back our inner sight. And like Paul, after we are given back our spiritual vision and washed in that water, we are given something to eat. God in Christ is known to us in the breaking of the bread. In the Holy Eucharist we enter into the divine mysteries where somehow Christ is really present.

Water, wine, and bread are the essence of human life. God is really present to us in the essence of human life.

God in Christ is feeding us. What could be more earthly than being hungry and being fed? Christ is feeding us.

In our Gospel, Christ puts Peter to the test. He asks him three times if he loves him, and each time he instructs Peter to take care of the people: feed them and tend to them. The third time Christ asks the question, Peter is hurt. But Peter had denied Christ three times. He needs to make amends for that denial. Christ is rooting Peter in the Christian mission: feed and tend to the people. It’s about the people. It’s about feeding and caring for souls, and it’s all right in front of us.

In the first chapter of Acts, as Christ is ascending into Heaven, two men in white robes appear and say to those gathered, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” In other words, “Don’t stand here gazing up forever. Go on your way and proclaim the Gospel.” This is exactly where we can get caught: gazing up to heaven, waiting for a miracle. Life itself is a miracle. Everyday stuff is the prayer. It all goes together, and it is all a light from heaven.

When we come to realize this, then we will be changed forever. When we take time to recognize the beauty of the earth, the blessedness of those around us, then we will be changed forever.

The Rev. Paul D. Allick hails from the plains of Montana and North Dakota. He graduated from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 1996, and for the past decade has experienced a wide variety of ministries in the Diocese of Minnesota, serving in Native American, African American, and suburban parishes, as well as campus ministry.