I have been scrolling through Facebook this morning, pondering news items posted by friends and following some of those stories up ( wanting to be aware of what might be false, what might be out of date etc, I have been caught out too many times before!). The diversity of posts and concerns is fascinating, just I guess as we are diverse, and truly I believe that this is good because I need to be challenged and to read and consider things that may well have passed me by.
This morning two posts caught my attention, one was posted by an Anglican friend who posted a report from the General Synod of the Church of England, the other from a friend who works among poor and vulnerable families.
The first reported a move to allow Methodist and Anglican Ministers to preside in one anothers churches, it is concerned with reaching an agreement that will be acceptable to both churches, mostly around how ordination of ministers take place, who by and what that means. In the same way we talk about which type of bread and wine should be used, what we wear etc. etc.
The second was a post about child poverty and the removal of the provision of free school meals from children whose parents ear more than £7,200 p.a., that is £617 per month! Crazy. To add insult to injury the MP’s who voted for such a measure then went on to enjoy a luxury banquet where tables sold for up to £15,000, more than double the annual wage of the families whose lives they have just voted to change!
When I consider these two articles side by side I see two things, a church that is shuffling the deckchairs around on the Titanic in order to find a good spot and a decent view, and a world in need, crying out in hunger. Suddenly who lays hands on whom seems less important than the hungry child whose needs are going unmet. In the child I meet the eyes of Christ who says to us, when you feed the hungry you feed me, in the church I see the Spirit groaning at our desire to find unity through uniformity in a world that is anything but uniform. We can have unity without uniformity, celebrating our differences and rejoicing as we seek to serve together, maybe then the most important table we should gather around is a supper table where the rich and poor share equally for all are welcome, where bread and wine are broken and poured along with soup and cheese, and pie, and even a lavish banquet is served.
Maybe such tables could extend our conversations and help us to know one another in a deeper way than any resolutions voted through by synods and conferences, tables which would be open to all and to any who might come, bread broken extravagantly and wine poured liberally ( with juice for those who prefer no wine). Our communion must surely be more than practice but flow from a relationship with one another through Christ who embraces all in the recognition that Jesus challenged the religious elite, and welcomed the humble.
Perhaps the best response is to seek to have the eyes of Christ, to be his body, broken for all. To feed the hungry, to stick up for the oppressed, to be welcoming to all without discrimination of colour, gender, creed or sexuality and more, to talk about the environment, to strive to be people of peace, to serve together not uniformly but in unity, and because we have such riches to share to build a bigger table, that way we may discover that our loaves and fishes are multiplied beyond our expectations!