Monday, June 23, 2008

GAFCON 2008 and the Historic Breakthrough: Thousands of Anglican leaders and bishops gather in Jerusalem in bold witness of solidarity

BabyBlueOnline presents a video overview of GAFCON 2008: Day One and Two. It's an extraordinary event - it's clear that GAFCON has drawn Anglicans from all streams from all over the world, truly astonishing.

There is one thing that seems to be confused in the media and that is the difference between unity and uniformity. For years, we believed that unity was a virtue to be pursed in the Episcopal Church. But it became clear the deeper into the structures one went, the clearer it became that it wasn't unity that the leadership was after - but uniformity. It became clear that the Episcopal leadership had no idea what real unity looks like. They still don't.

Unity is not uniformity. Unity is not keeping the peace. Unity is full of passion, enthusiasm, frustration, exhilaration, discussion, debates, truth telling, laughter, hard work, trust, transparency, surprise, hope, joy, life, love, humility, humor, more frustration, breaking bread, reconciliation, resurrection, repentance, and sometimes peace. It's all that, rolled up into a package that explodes with laughter from time to time. Uniformity is filled with fear. Unity is fun. Finally.

When I look at the faces of the people in these photos I see surprise - the kind of surprise that comes from encountering joy unexpectedly. It is not what they all have in common that makes this gathering so special - but it is how they are all so different, how those differences enrich their fellowship and their relationships, the lack of uniformity - which can at any moment explode into chaos - and yet it doesn't. And why is that? Because what they have in common is so deep and so significant that all their differences are enriched by this one common bond - Jesus.

Not theology, not culture, not religion, not worship style, not politics - but a simple but profound life-changing relationship with the Risen Lord. It appears He is risen - really - and He is alive. All our prayers are lifted up as these amazing people gather together and take a risk, a risk of failure because they'd rather risk failure then do nothing.

Here they are - a short video to remind us that there are people in Jerusalem, real people, with families, and churches and loved ones back home. Today Archbishop Orombi echoed the question asked by Jesus, "do you want to be healed?" Yes. Oh yes.


Jill C. said...

Very nice, BB! Thanks for putting those together for us. If I didn't know better I'd think you were there in person! ;)

Alice C. Linsley said...

I attend Divine Liturgy at an Antiochian Orthodox Church. It serves as a foretaste of the Kingdom of God in terms of the diversity in unity. I never experienced anything like this in TEC, inspite of all that organization's talk about diversity. I worship with Serbs, Croats, Russians, Lebanese, Scots, Romanians, Palestinians, African Americans, and Americans of virtually every European descent. At coffee hour one hears several languages spoken and although families tend to sit with each other, there is still a wonderful sense of being one in Christ Jesus. There is also a marvelous pooling of people's gifts to build up the local Body and to reach out to others. I imagine that this is what GAFCON feels like.

georgia said...

Your finest post, BB.


My profound thanks.