Hope…

Some news about Women Bishops in the Church in Wales.

It’s funny for me to see how this has affected me. Despite my understanding of church government being entirely different, over the last few years I have been growing to love the face I’ve seen of this church. It feels like “home”.

I’m not very good at pinpointing precisely why I should have such a reaction. In terms of church government I agree strongly with an old friend blogging HERE about congregationalism. Even his grumpy (and admittedly inflammatory) post on a recent debate in the church of England, began with a statement I wholeheartedly endorse: ” I don’t think there ought to be any bishops, of any gender whatsoever, unless we are talking about the sort of bishops they have in the Bible, i.e. elders in a local church.”

But I think I found something that explains the strange hopeful and nostalgic sensation that has been lurking since I heard the news. There is something about this news that, in me, has resonated with something far greater. CS Lewis gives a very full description of this concept, in his essay, The Weight of Glory. And my friend (who blogged about congregationalism) has highlighted to me, in another post, a good summary of this idea:

“In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we  betray  ourselves  like  lovers  at  the mention of a name.

 

 

This is my experience; this is absolutely my experience.  Right down to the attempt to fend off my heart pain by labelling it and mocking it, this is what I do… We know that we belong there and then, and yet we are here and now.  So deep is the anguish that we cannot even speak it… And I know that there are many, many ways of explaining this feeling away, and Lewis names just a few of them.  But are we sure – really sure – that we are not explaining away a moment in which we knew truth, and knew it to be good and beautiful, and felt that it was beyond us? Might not this experience mean something?”
I think that is where this Hope is coming from, from a resonance with a deeper magic.
It is a magic that says “So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” The crown of the imago dei hanging on every son of adam and daughter of eve.
It is a seer saying, “In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.”
It is a vision of people laying down their crowns and saying:
You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”
and of a great multitude standing with them.
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