The goings-on in the Episcopal Church are more an example of dysfunction than Christian unity. A recent Associated Press article describes the legal turmoil between the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and “a deposed bishop who led a secession last year prompted by the church’s ordination of women and gays.” It seems the diocese wants to sue the bishop.
Another bishop, loyal to the Episcopal Church, is quoted as saying, “Regardless of the necessity of proceeding with the litigation, the diocese leadership and I remain committed to reconciliation with clergy and parishes that are still trying to understand their relationship with the Episcopal Church.” Yet I wonder, do they understand their relationship with Jesus Christ?
It seems the Episcopal Church is spending so much time bickering amongst themselves, that they have totally forgotten Jesus’ call for unity. What might Jesus say about the conflict within the Episcopal Church, or any conflict within any church?
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” (Luke 11:23) Would you say the Episcopal Church is gathering, or scattering?
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) It is not obvious to me that all church leaders are truly disciples of Jesus; I just don’t see the love. People can disagree and still have love.
I would like to end this post with Jesus’ prayer to His Father, for all believers:
“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 17:20-23)