Rob’s October Newsletter

Posted: October 4, 2009 by limabean03 in Anglican Communion, Rob's Sermons, Rob's Thoughts, Thought and Practice in the Diocese of South Carolina, Trinity Tidings

“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.” (Ex 15.13)

The Bible, like life, is a messy piece of business. Anyone expecting to come to the Scriptures to find a nice, tidy, “religious” piece of literature is in for disappointment and more likely a good bit of shock. In the pages of the Bible you will find murders, adulteries, betrayals, wars, famines, horrific storms, oppression, blasphemies, and faithlessness. Even amongst the “heroes” of the Scriptures, very few of them actually are able to act heroically. Noah, though faithful, was in the end a drunk. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer. The list goes on and on.

What are we to make of this? First, we must praise the Scriptures for being honest about life. The heroes of the Bible are real men and women made with real flesh and blood who are without exception deeply flawed individuals. The people of the Bible are not removed from the world, but very much engaged in it. They experience profound joy and profound pain. They have moments of inspiring faithfulness and moments of devastating faithlessness. As Martin Luther once wrote “The first value of this is that the godly have the comfort they need in their weaknesses, because they see that at times even the saintliest men fell disgracefully as the result of similar weakness” (LW vol 2. pg 169). The Bible is not a piece of escapist literature. It unflinchingly presents a world with problems, filled with sinful and broken people.

But is that all there is to it? Thankfully not! For working through the chaos, pain, and sinfulness recorded in the Bible we also notice the constant and ever present “steadfast love” of the Lord. Sometimes, as in the redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the steadfast love of the Lord is obvious, clear and powerful. At other times, such as the darkest hours of Good Friday, the steadfast love of the Lord is hidden though just as strongly present. Either way, it becomes obvious as we read through the Bible that while it reflects the broken world we all know and experience, the main theme of the Bible is nevertheless the steadfast love of the Lord. His steadfast love works in sovereign power to redeem us from sin, release us from bondage, and restore us to our intended humanity often in spite of our failings and brokenness.

I bring this up so that we might use the Bible to help us reflect on our life together here at Trinity. As you know, our Bishop has called all the congregations in the Diocese of South Carolina to engage the chaos and brokenness that has come to typify our life together in the Episcopal Church. Taking the Holy Scriptures as our guide in this matter, we will not draw back or make light of the very bad situation our denomination now finds itself in but we will deal with it honestly and head on. But while we engage the sin and brokenness of our denominational life, we must remember the central theme of the Bible and make it our central theme as well. God’s steadfast love, ultimately revealed in the giving of His Son to save sinners, will and must remain our main priority. Take this letter as my pledge to you to engage our denominational brokenness, but not get sidetracked by it. We are now as always, committed to the Gospel. That will never change.

much love,

Rob

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