Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prayer Shawl Sunday at All Saints Church

Sunday was an amazing day of worship and celebration at All Saints Church. Ed Bacon preached (to standing ovations at both principle services) an amazing sermon entitled "Choosing Life-Giving Power Over Destructive Power" which you can read here ... and which we expect to be available here in video by Wednesday. Here's a quote:

Whenever oppression is going on, whenever abuse is going on, it is an act of choosing destructive power over life-giving power to be in either the role of abuser or to be in the role of the abused. That is the perverse nature of the temptation to abuse. You can choose destructive power in the active role or in the passive role. It is an act of complicity in a situation of abuse and oppression to participate in the abusive power by agreeing with it and complying with it and to internalize the abuse. Internalized oppression is just as real as external oppression and it takes place when you comply with abuse by being silent and by ceasing and desisting even for a season. Justice has no season; justice is for every season. You cannot, you should not, you must not fast from justice for Lent.

Nor are we to try forcing others to see the world as we see it. But relational, redemptive power rather than dominating power says what we at All Saints will continue to say and to do. We will say to everyone in the Anglican communion, "We love you. We love Jesus. We love Scripture as we use it critically, discriminatingly, and non-abusively. We love the Anglican communion. And we will continue to bless same-sex unions."

And then we -- everybody at all five services -- blessed a prayer shawl crafted by the All Saints Knitting Ministry [photo above of the 11:15 congregation courtesy Keith Holeman] -- and have sent it off to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori with a letter from the Rector "co-signed" by over 800 parish members.

Thanks to Hugo Schwyzer for his moving blog commentary on the blessing of the Prayer Shawl at our 5:00 Saturday service, which included this affirmation of the Spirit of the Living God present in the life and worship at All Saints Church:

"... what I love about All Saints is that under the leadership of an exciting and dynamic team of professional and volunteer youth ministers, an ever more explicitly evangelical message is being lived out with our children and teenagers. Our commitment to full inclusion for gays and lesbians, our sense that God’s view of sexuality is richer than we had once imagined, in no way vitiates the intensity of our faith in Christ. We can have Jesus and justice."


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

AMAZING. I am sending this to our prayer shawl group.

John Gibson said...

It would be interesting to see in how many parishes around the country there has been criticism of what the Primates did and a clear expression of determination that TEC should go forward on the path WE have chosen for ourselves.

At my parish, St. James (Los Angeles), we had a "Rector's Forum", a round-table discussion, in which our Rector came down firmly on our side and criticized the Primates' ultimatum. Following that, one of our Associates preached a brilliant sermon comparing the situation we find ourselves in today with that Jesus faced when tempted by the devil in the wilderness.

I don't think things are uniformly quiet at the grassroots in the Episcopal Church.

Anonymous said...

Jesus is Justice, I have no fear, do not fret (psalm 37). Without God we have nothing, with God we have everything! Keep praying during lent, keep meditating, keep hope alive. Peace my sisters and brothers, we put out so much love at All Saints and it always comes back.