Sunday, July 8, 2012


Context matters. Years ago I went to a debate between William F. Buckley, Jr. and George McGovern. McGovern lamented that "in the old days" in the U. S. Senate, people disagreed but still socialized with each other. In particular, he shared that he and Barry Goldwater were close friends and it was not uncommon for them to vote on opposite sides of an issue and then go out afterwards and have a beer together, one of them to gloat and the other to complain. But they stayed in relationship. McGovern's feeling was (this was back in the early 1990s) that this context had changed dramatically in Washington and I would simply add that I think it's gotten a lot worse in the past twenty years since he made those comments.

Context matters. Often in the Church we borrow political labels like "conservative" or "liberal" when we discuss theology. And often, sadly, our divisions do mirror the political world we live in. But at the center of our life together as Episcopalians gathered in Indianapolis is the Holy Eucharist. We gather every single day at 9:30 a.m. to break bread together. Today we had a full festival Sunday Eucharist at which we sang the following words at one point:
We the Lord's people, heart and voice uniting
praise him who called us out of sin and darkness
into his own light,
that he might annoint us a royal priesthood.

This is the Lord's house, home of all his people,
school for the faithful, refuge for the sinner,
rest for the pilgrim, haven for the weary,
all find a welcome.

This is the Lord's day, day of God's own making,
day of creation, day of resurrection,
day of the Spirit, sign of heaven's banquet,
day for rejoicing.

In the Lord's service bread and wine are offered,
that Christ may take them, bless them,
break and given them, to all his people,
his own life imparting, food everlasting. 
Context matters. We don't agree on everything. But we gather as God's people, we share something even better than a beer together: bread that is blessed, broken and given;  wine freely poured - Christ's own life imparting, food everlasting. Everything else flows from that.

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