Wednesday, 31 March 2010

still broken

About 11:30am on Monday I glanced out of my diocesan office window and wondered what was going on as I watched various cassocked men heading for Chelmsford Cathedral. Then I remembered that on Monday of Holy Week the cathedral hosts the ‘alternative’ Chrism service. Each Maundy Thursday a Chrism service is held in the cathedral and all the clergy of the diocese are invited to attend. It is an opportunity to gather together; to renew ordination vows; to bless oils which will be used in parishes throughout the year and to celebrate the meal Jesus gave us. However, as I said, an alternative service took place on Monday.

When the Church of England decided to ordain women as priests in the 1990s arrangements were put in place for those who could not support the move. These arrangements were set out in Appendix B to Ordination of Women to the Priesthood: Pastoral Arrangements and provide sacramental care as well as oversight for opponents of the ordination of women to the priesthood. Basically, provision is made in each diocese for a Provincial Episcopal Visitor, sometimes known as a ‘flying bishop’, who offers oversight to those who cannot accept the ministry of the diocesan bishop because of his acceptance of and participation in the ordination of women. It was these clergy who I saw going to the cathedral on Monday for their alternative Chrism service in Holy Week.

I thought back to another view through a window during Advent 2008. I was looking through the window of the small Franciscan church called Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives. The church is constructed in the shape of a tear and the view looks out over Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. This is traditionally remembered as the site where Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).

So there you have it: Holy Week, when we remember what God has done for all of us through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ and we have two separate services because we can’t agree on what Jesus calls us to be and do in his name. We can’t even share together around the Lord’s table.

Jesus wept and we should hang our heads in shame.

from dominus flevit

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:20-22


Anonymous said...

Jesus wept? He's still weeping over his broken, bruised and bloodied body. Strange how most Christians seem to have difficulties understanding self-harming teenagers when they belong to an organisation that specialises in self-harm...

Is this kind of service really "pastoral care" or simply pandering to the prejudices of those refuse to move where the Spirit leads?

Sad indeed ;(

Tim Goodbody said...

I'm with Phil Groom; The dean could always say no...