Back in the day when people used to ask how he was doing, my pastor used to say “I’m terrific”. What he meant was: a terrific salad dressing is made by combining oil and vinegar, and a terrific life is made by combining the oil of gladness with the vinegar of sorrow.
Tonight we in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh received ‘terrific’ news: Local Episcopalians Vote to Leave the U.S. Church. For an excellent and heartfelt summary of why, read this post by Rev. Taylor of St. Philips Moon Township.
It’s not something any of us wanted. The people of our diocese have worked and prayed for years, hoping that somehow the larger Episcopal church would turn away from pop-psychology quasi-religion and find a renewal of the original Christian faith, the faith Jesus and His disciples knew. Instead the national leadership of our church has let us know we either have to pull a 1984 and call their lies “the ministry of truth” or we’re no longer welcome.
Tonight’s vote is the first step out the door. What we’re about to become, we don’t yet know.
Tonight is a bittersweet moment. Tonight we discovered what really matters to us. We feel joy because we know now: when it really matters, we will stand on God’s side no matter what the cost. But we also feel sorrow in knowing how much more ministry could be accomplished if the cost weren’t so high.
As an average churchgoer tonight I’m very proud of our bishop and our parish clergy for being willing to risk their careers and their families’ livelihoods and their reputations to take this stand on the front lines. Some have had their names and faces in the news, and have had all kinds of lies spoken about them, but we parishioners know better… we know the real people behind the news stories and we know the quality of their character.
I pray somehow some good will come out of all this, that somehow God’s truth will be heard above the voices of all the lawyers. I pray the via media will remain alive in us, that a church that once again honors both heart and mind — and Father, Son, and Spirit — will grow from these ashes.
Above all ~ Soli Deo Gloria ~ to God alone be the glory.