[Rector]

Acceptance

 

Some Evangelical Christian find it difficult to attend an Anglo Catholic church. For us the Bible, and in particular the gospel, is the prime means of approach to God. The use of symbols, Icons, sacraments....., all these seem of little value in approaching God. In fact some fear they may even cloud our vision. Yet for a High Church Anglican they remain an essential part of their faith.

Some years ago I took a sabbatical and that year I attended a High Church Anglican church in the small country town of Braidwood, about an hour from the capital of Australia, Canberra. I found the minister a very gentle and loving man. I suppose a critical assessment of his short weekly sermons may have found them wanting, although I didn't find them that way. Every week there was a word from the Lord in his sermons. Sometimes I didn't agree with what he said, but the Word was always there. Also the way he took the service was not "puritan", but it was gently and faithfully executed. The Spirit was present. I found no trouble, week by week, meeting with Jesus in that beautiful building. I had no trouble loving him and his wife and they had no trouble loving me, for we all loved Jesus.

While at Braidwood there was a change in ministry. The new minister was Anglo Catholic, if not Authodox. He was a sacramentalist through and through. He was soon into all the "naughty" Anglican practices, such as the reservation of the consecrated bread and wine. He was a lover of life, full of it. And you know, I had no trouble with the man. I didn't agree with all he was doing, or all he was saying. Yet Jesus was still there and still speaking. We were one in Jesus.

My time at Braidwood was an enriching experience, a spiritual blessing. The most powerful and enriching part of that was sharing with a Christian community and sitting under a Christian ministry so distinctly different from my own tradition. Yet it was never a problem, just a blessing.

I was not always open toward others of a different tradition to mine. Maybe I'm just getting older. Maybe my faith is compromised, although I don't think so. The truth seems clearer, sharper and more powerful these days. No, I think it's just got to do with the grace of God.

The substantial nature of the unity we share in Christ can easily override theological perspectives or Churchmanship. In the end, Christ in us draws us to each other in acceptance of each other. "Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love".