As I came out of my subcommittee meeting in Faith and Order tonight, I felt like we were finally doing it. We were finally embodying what it meant to hear one another, to seek understanding, to seek God’s will, and to serve God in this capacity.
We were reminded by our vice chair at the start of the afternoon, as he read Psalm 23, that we serve a dual purpose.
We look to our Shepherd who guides and sustains us.
But we are also called in this role to Shepherd and lead the church.
My subcommittee took intentional time today to listen deeply, ask questions of context, and to bring scripture to bear on our conversation. We brainstormed. We were honest. We asked about the Holy Spirit. We didn’t let parliamentary rules interfere. I believe every person around the table in our group of 30, save one or two, spoke and shared.
In particular we looked today at Paragraph 304.3 under the qualifications for ordination. While paragraph two lays out the high standards of expectation for clergy persons, paragraph three specifically names that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” can’t be ordained.
So, not an easy topic.
But we did so with grace and faithfulness, recognizing that scripture speaks from a context to a context, and trying to help us stay united while at the same time not hindering the mission of the church and helping the church make disciples.
It was awesome.
I am also aware that our experience was extra ordinary. That other groups did not have such a holy and grace filled experience.
And I’m apprehensive, coming out of the bubble, about what comes next in our larger committee and the plenary. How on earth do you convey the spirit or translate our profound understanding of one another?
Keep praying, friends…