Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mere Anglicanism

And, yes, I really should be addressing much higher topics at this point near the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. But the real possibility exists that I am almost all "churched" out. This is not the fault of the "one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," but of the horrible and petty doings of those yet in TEC who suffer under the illusion that they are still Anglicans and even Christians. And it is not entirely TEC either, for one of the renegade bishops of the official established Anglican Church in Canada has taken it upon himself to depose an internationally know Anglican theologian, Dr J. I. Parker. What must said bishop be thinking? Or is he even capable of doing so? Of course, I am not capable of answering such questions but I do know where I stand and that is with the good Doctor Parker who although I have certain disagreements with same I know to be man who wants to be the best Christian possible and that by the standards of Holy Scripture and not by those of this current age.

So this is not a pleasant time. When we, as Anglicans and Christians, should be paying attention to our prayers and the condition of our souls, we are besieged by the nastiness of church politics forced upon us all by those who though they may be in the Church are not of the Church, being instead pretty plainly servants of the dark lord. We need to be paying attention to Jesus, but instead find ourselves distracted by heretics and heresies.

So what is to be done? Well, we can not answer the question in the terms of the world, the flesh and the devil. We are forbidden by the New Testament to take our matters to the courts so what is left to us.

The answer, my answer, is a simple one. We must follow Jesus. With Him, we must reject the allurements of Satan and the paths of the world, the flesh and the devil. And if worst comes to worse, we must throw ourselves upon the floor and wait until the temptation to answer evil with evil leaves us. Then we must get up and return to our prayers. And this, I believe, is the path of classical prayer book Anglicanism. We do what we can, when we can, but the most important thing which we can do in a crisis is to be faithful in the celebration of the office and the Eucharist. There are millions of souls out there on the dark sea of life counting on us to be truly faithful Christians although they, also, may be unaware of it.

There is a story in the life of St Francis of Assissi in which his brothers were bringing him back from having received the stigmata. Because of these new wounds walking was difficult for him so they borrowed a horse for him to ride and it was being led by its owner. All seemed to be going well until the horse's owner turned to Francis and fell on his knees, begging that Francis would be "real." The world is begging for us to be real yet the most visible part of what was once the American Church has proved false. That leaves it to us, the part of the visible church which is little, unknown and hidden to make good on the promise of Christ's Church. We must be true and keep the offices and prayers of the Book of Common Prayer as we promised. The world is watching although they know it not: can we for Christ be true?


Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, we must follow Jesus. There is none other to whom we can turn who speaks the Truth and gives us Life.

I pray that your Easter week will be blessed.

When you have a moment, you'd enjoy reading Wendell Berry's letter to my students here:

Best wishes!

Canon Tallis said...

Easter was blessed as it always has been for me but I did miss the old liturgy of Easter Even. Easter as a whole will be blessed, if for no other reason than Lent was so hard.

And I did appreciate Wendell Berry's letter.

Alice C. Linsley said...

A hard Lent? I hope that it strengthened your spiritual muscles. I'm still in Lent, but today is the Sunday of the Cross, planted smack in the middle of Orthodox Lent, like the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden. It has been hard for me too. I've been very tired for some reason.

But we can rejoice because regardless of how we date Easter, HE is Risen and ever shall be!

Canon Tallis said...

Bening partially Russian in ancestry and a Celt otherwise, I feel that the wrong decision was made by the early English Church. The only advantage which it has is that I will get to attend Russian Easter services without conflict. But, with the exception of the Old Calandarists, I think Orthodoxy is right about the dating of Easter and the Western Church in the wrong.

The advantage of a hard Lent is that you know that the Holy Spirit has been working with you and Easter will be that much more glorious. And it was.

How terrible Spring must be for those who are not classically Christian.