Reflections on possiblities

March 13, 2007 at 9:51 am | Posted in Day 6: Monday, 12 March 2007, Laura | 2 Comments

Today before lunch the Archdeacon of Toronto asked me to pose in front of a sign that reads “Quiet Please.” After dinner Douglas Fenton asked me if I had an “inside voice.” I am happy to reflect that this must mean I am truly being myself here at the conference. I feel for that for a 24 year-old woman who’s only been a Christian for 3 years I’ve held my own pretty well. Sure I’ve really stuck my foot in my mouth a few times (revisit my post about Day 2) And I’ve probably stepped on a few toes that I don’t even know about. I certainly have learned a lot more about the Church and its inner workings in the week past. But I’ve chosen to understand them and then move back to the important piece of actually acting out the mission of God. However, in light of these new learnings I certainly can see how churchpeople could in some ways consider me a liability instead of an asset. I’m happy that they have chosen to see me as the latter. And I really feel that they have done that in my days past. I have built relationships up I never would’ve otherwise had the opportunity to do in my life. I have seen a country that acts out the Gospel in ways that must make God dance. I have honed my own gifts to be able to continue to give to the church in a lifegiving and much needed way. Best of all I have learned things about myself that I never alone would have been able to uncover. I really believe that this is what the Kingdom Of God looks, acts, and feels like. People reaching out to people and pulling out things that need to be pulled out. Cleaning each others wounds that would otherwise had been left dirty. Drawing ourselves deeper into our own spiritual journeys by asking others to join one another in the mission we are on this earth to do, “give the poor a fair chance.”

Being at this conference has been an amazing experience. Hearing what stories people have to tell from all over the world in all walks of life. I do not feel that at any time did I have to comprimise who I was in order to fit in. I cannot tell you how much of a different experience that is of the church than others I’ve heard from. In fact, a marvelous woman who told her story today talked about when she was first diagnosed HIV-positive. The church figured it out after she started to drop weight and her glands started to swell. The church she was a part of told her she was dirty and a sinner in the eyes of God. Now 13 years later, young men and women confide in her that there are places they have started to feel more comfortable coming out about their HIV status. The church however, is defiantly not one of them.

She posed the most interesting question: Why are we as Anglicans working to help the poor, the afflicted, the less fortunate then ourselves? Is it because we the church want to reach out to them who don’t have as much or enough? Do we the church want to reach out to them so we feel better about ourselves? Do we the church want to help them because it is what God is calling us to do? If so, then we need to do some serious “coming to Jesus” because that is NOT what we the church should ever use as reasons for doing the mission of the church. We the church need to reach out because our church has AIDS, our church is hungry, our church is hurt, our church is afflicted. The latter of these is what Christ calls us to do. The former is what divides the “us” and “them.” Getting honest with ourselves about why we are doing the work of Jesus is getting layers deep into spiritually defining ourselves. It’s certainly not a space I’d want individuals to start. But for those of us who have started down the path all ready of healing the sick and comforting the afflicted, it’s time for us to delve further into why that is. Because when we start to undo those layers, we start to truly live as Christians.

We’re nearing the end of our conference. I believe there are only two days left. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori has arrived this afternoon after being at a consecration, and we are glad for her presence. She will be participating in our church service our last day together. Each continent has chosen a different day in which to lead morning and evening prayer. North America is the last day. Canada will do our morning worship, and USA will do the last Eucharist with our Presiding Bishop. Bishop Frank Griswold has asked me to serve communion. I have never ever participated in a church service whatsoever. I’ve never even done a reading. I told him I’ve never done anything in a church service, even a reading. He smiled.  As I walked away a little shaky at the very thought of helping our Presiding Bishop I thought to myself  “I wonder if I’m just going to serve as the token young adult to make our picture look real pretty.” After pondering for a moment I realized this was not in fact the case. I was asked because Bishop Frank believes I can do it. And for me that’s a great way to end our week because in the beginning of choosing delegates for TEAM 2007 I had some other wonderful people (thank you Thom and Douglas) who believed I could do it.

After accepting and then realizing what I might be getting into I wanted to withdraw, and my parish I belong to believed I could do it. Now finally here I am doing it. I say this not as a pat on the back to myself but an example to everyone in the world that if a girl who was atheist most of her life can come to God, serve Jesus, and live into the Holy Spirit in an entirely different country, and in less than three years administering communion next to our new female Presiding Bishop, then the MDG’s, my friends, are indeed just as possible to achieve!

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  1. Dear Laura,
    You are an amazing woman and a testament to the communities of Christ that have found you and that you have found. I am so proud to know you and to be a witness to your story as it unfolds. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with the Church, and for immersing yourself so fully, so hopefully, and so compassionately in the missoin of God. You are a gift, and I give thanks for you.

    Much love from Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA, North America, Earth, Creation,

    The Rev. Mary Cat Enockson
    The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour

    p.s. I’m so quoting you when I preach on the MDG’s this Sunday! 🙂

  2. Hello Mary Cat!!!

    What in the world are you quoting me on?

    PS> I need your new email. I always try to email you with other people about things like this blog and it bounces back and I don’t know how to get ahold of you!


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