Dear Friends in Christ
A harried and hurried life.
Bishop Brian in his excellent and challenging Ad Clerum speaks about the “demands” that the church makes upon its members. We often use the word “demand” ourselves – the demands of our work, family demands, and other “demands” on our time and energy and attention. My dictionary says of “demand”: “an insistent and peremptory request, made as if by right; a pressing requirement as in he has got enough demands on his time already.” What stands out here are the words insistent and pressing.
Bishop Brian asks the question: is the church unreasonable in its demands (insistent and pressing requirements). (Is the church “demanding”? I like to think that the church is immolating its Master by “inviting” you to share in the responsibilities of communal life. God never seems to insist, but beckons us to a closer relationship, a union with God).
Whatever variation of the question may be, there is no doubt that there is, as + Brian states “ a malaise in the church – diminished giving, falling attendances and growing marginalization”. Who’s to blame: the hierarchy or the people? Paradoxically, they both make up the commune of the church, so to apportion blame is impossible. And for this very reason it is incumbent on us all to give our hearts and minds to these questions.
None of this is worth one iota without prayer. We might think that we have the right question with the most favorable outcome. However, Maggie Ross says that if we “want to truly intercede we have to let go our ideas not only of what the outcome ought to be but what the problem is in the first place. This means that we come in silence and let go into the love of God these questions and wait upon God as attentive listeners. Into this space, lovingly tendered, we allow Wisdom to nurture us into a co-creative energy of love.
The light of God shines so nicely in the darkness of our problems. Have no doubt that we are being led into the “more” of God. We have a surprising God.