Thursday, December 3, 2009

Opening Prayer for Discussion Groups

Dear Lord, as we gather together
To better understand Your Word,
Help us to keep our minds open
During our discussions.

Remove the barriers of ingrained assumption.
Make us listen to all who contribute insight,
And thereby appreciate how Your love
Permeates diverse points of view.

We meet to expand our knowledge of You,
To find pathways by which we may exercise faith in action,
And spread your Good News to those
Outside our circle of faith in this room.

We are scholars, we are sinners, we are neighbors.
Shine your light upon us
As we seek to become fuller Christian
In thought, word, and deed. Amen

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Holy Mother Church

Once, at The Church of The Holy Spirit in Orleans, Massachusetts,
David preached a sermon in which he referred to us as "Holy Mother Church."
On the way out, I told David that I left HMC a long time ago;
He said Holy Mother Church never left you!

Now, in October 2009, the mountain has come to Mohammed,
That is, HMC is reaching out to co-opt and ingather traditional Anglicans
By offering to receive Anglican parishes as "discrete bodies"
Into the arms of the Holy Roman Empire, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church.

Little do the Vatican officials who hatched this plot
Realize that they have opened the door to cataclysmic change in their Church.
Heretofore, they have received only individual Anglicans, who "swim the Tiber."
Including married Anglican clerics who are retreaded as Catholic priests.

When they get a whole bunch, nothing but trouble will result.
Their own clergy will begin to demand the right to be married, too.
Their bishops will have to deal with fractious vestries,
Who are used to functioning independent of church hierarchy.

Anglican parishes call their own clergy, subject to diocesan approval,
And do not hold still for having someone assigned by outside authority.
Anglicans do not accept theological precepts they do not agree with,
Certainly not from a foreign-born bishop in a palace in Rome.

No doubt the Vatican is looking for substantial revenue from affluent Anglicans.
They will find all such funds specifically reserved for pet causes of donors.
Anglicans are a stiff-necked people, who will not behave like Catholic sheep,
Who bend the knee, bow the head, and reach into their pockets.

Revolt will spread.
Free thought will infest the Catholic faithful.
The specter of women's ordination will arise
To haunt the planners at the Vatican.

Monday, July 27, 2009

General Convention 2009

From Anaheim in Lotus Land,
The Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.
Sailed off on a lavender cloud
To an unknown shore of religious practice.

Parting from the Anglican Communion,
Firmly engaged in the post modern culture
Of changing beliefs and mutable standards,
TEC leaves behind their brethren of centuries.

Will the newly enlightened church be able
To withstand the pressure for continuing innovations?
Will they find a bedrock of Truth,
Or engage in an ever changing exegesis of the Word?

What becomes of those in TEC
Who cling to the faith of their fathers?
Will they be forced to accept practices they abhor
Or be drummed out of membership?

A rival Anglican province lurks in the wings,
Ready to sweep up the outcasts.
But supposed we do not want to transfer
From a melting ice floe to a strange new island?

This once was ours, this failed experiment
In encompassing a wide range of Christian theology.
Its rationale is no longer relevant;
We must take sides in a quarrel we did not begin.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Death and Resurrection

A Church dies; a Church is born!
The Episcopal Church implodes.
The Anglican Church in North America commences.
Two Anglican provinces occupy the same territory.

The curtain in the temple is rent asunder again,
As schism divides worshippers into two armies of God.
One calls itself progressive; the other traditional.
Labeling their opponents revisionist vs. reasserter.

The media ascribes the split as to whether homosexual mores
Shall be accepted in all offices and rites of the Church.
Scholars say it is a struggle for truth, for the revealed Word,
As being fixed, or open to reinterpretation in changing times.

Alas, there once was a dear old church, formally known
as The Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.
We were proud that it functioned as a big tent,
Encompassing a wide range of theological differences.

The rector of the parish was called mister,
Wearing a cassock, surplice, and stole,
Conducting Morning Prayer with its canticles and psalms.
Celebrating Holy Eucharist monthly with prayerful preparation.

We were known as God's frozen people, The Republican Party
at prayer,
The movers and shakers, the country club members.
Guilty of the great sins of pride, arrogance, indifference
and snobbery.
We enjoyed the majesty of the prayers, the beauty of the hymns,
and chatting at the coffee hour.