Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Communion of Saints

Dr. A.K.M. Adam, professor at Seabury-Western Seminary in Evanstan, provided an essay today on his blog site entitled "Why I Am Not A Liberal". The article in itself is worth reading, not least for his approval of incorporating gay and lesbian people into ministry of our Church and allowing them "sanctified intimate relationships" [my emphasis, DAB], but several of his statements are worth pondering in and of themselves. The one on which I will focus in this blog is:
[...] I do not accept the premise that change and novelty are good in and of themselves. The church is a body that includes generations past as well as its present participants — and it must bear in mind its responsibility to generations yet unborn. Those of us active in the church this year constitute a relatively insignificant proportion of the church’s life, and it behooves us to show respect for the saints who have bequeathed this endeavor to us by not casually shucking off the life and teachings they have died to uphold, and by not impetuously imposing our will as a norm for future saints.
The idea / concept that the "church is a body" that contains believers past, present, and (to us) future should be prayerfully considered by all Anglicans / Episcopalians, and especially our ministers, teachers, and those in authority in the church. We are who we are because of our history and those who came before. And this should lead us to be cautious in our time to make sure that what we leave behind is recognizable, not only to those who will come after us, but also to those who came before!

I don't know how many of my readers have listened to Fr. Luckritz talk about his concept of "Sacred Time" surrounding the event of the Eucharist, where this event in our time and space also collapses in upon itself to become The Eucharist in which all believers of all time participate. [I know that I have not expressed this as well as Fr. Luckritz has explained it.] Dr. Adam's statement is another way to think about the Communion of Saints (cf. the Baptisimal Covenant), in that he has brought into the equation the future (from our perspective).

Read the whole thing, and ponder each of Dr. Adam's six points within the context of his essay. May we continue to realize the nature of God and His Church.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


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