Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Constancy vs Covenant
We have a cat named Darla (the dog's name is Petey) who has just turned six months. She is still a kitten in some senses but she is approaching that age when she will be considered fully grown. The dog and the cat (both girls) love to play together, fighting without hurting and chasing each other around then flopping down and sleeping side by side. They are constant in their companionship. And every morning, Darla, without fail, will scratch on our bedroom door for admittance, and find her favorite spot on the bed, rubbing her nose against who ever might be closest by. Constancy in relationship. She is persistent and soft, willing at all times to be cuddled and scratched. Petey likewise follows me around, sits in the office with me and want to go for rides in the car, especially to the train station when Mark is commuting home. Constancy and faithfulness. Yes, they respond to us because we feed them and care for them, but there is something more. The bond is deeper.
The conversation at Lambeth has been focused on Covenant. I am concerned that covenant is how we legislate when we don't have the desire for constancy and faithfulness. We have decided that prescribing a written remedy is better than finding a way to be constant in our love and care for one another. We maybe haven't fed each other enough, we haven't depended upon each other enough, we haven't wanted the companionship enough to evoke constancy and faithfulness. Have we spent enough time listening to each other, both in demands and in purring, in light and in darkness? Have we held each other close as the world closed in around us? Constancy and faithfulness don't need a covenant, they need a loving desire for the presence of others. I want this day to be imbued with the desire for the companionship of others - no matter how we disagree. I pray that God will infuse me with love so deep that I want to follow other bishops and Anglicans around, sit in their office and enjoy their presence in my life. I pray that we all might have a persistent, insistent love for one another, so that we might move beyond legislation to community. Beyond contract to family. Jesus reminds us that love -constancy and faithfulness- are the signs of our discipleship, not a covenant. Just love. "I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
(John 13:34-35) May love take hold where contract cannot.
you breathed and the world came into being, put your breath in our beings today. Renew us with your constant love, that we might be so full that we desire to follow you. And in following you, may we know a constant and faithful love of our companions in the faith. Help us rebuild the Church in your love. Help the Bishops move beyond contract to community, and bless us all with such compassion for one another that we might be known to the world as your disciples. In Christ's name we pray, Amen.
Precious Lord Jesus,
you walked the earth as we do, in the heat of the day and the dust on the road. Give us your love that our journey might begin and end with the love we have for one another. As we sleep, stretch us and mend us, so that all the broken hearts might be filled to overflowing with your love. Take away any shadow of fear, remove any doubt of our need for you or one another. In Him who loved his companions so that he was willing to offer his life for all, Amen.