Just back from grabbing a


Just back from grabbing a bowl of chili after the Hearings on the creation of same gender relationship liturgies.

My strongest impression of the night – beyond the extraordinary eloquence and civility of the speakers – is the harmony that was there when we sang. The Committee on Prayer Book, Music and Liturgy has a practice of regular prayer and song as part of their meeting. At the end of the amazingly crowded hearing tonight – in which dear and old friends of mine (and new ones too) spoke on the matter we’re all talking about – we stood and sang a Taize chant. The whole room sang the chant through once in unison – and then spontaneously broke into harmony the second time – and then extraordinary sound on the third time.

We sang with one voice in harmony as people will sing together after they’ve sung together for years. We sang just in the way Mother Laura (our assoc. rector) tries to get us to sing at Trinity in our Taize services – listening to each other and singing with each other, not at each other. It was heart-breakingly beautiful. People from Claiming the Blessing were singing with people from the AAC and you couldn’t tell where one voice started and the other stopped. Just like our common life in God.

If we take away one of the voices – or a whole group of voices – the music is changed. It’s diminished. The sound we heard came as if it were being sung by people who have sung together their whole life. (Which I guess in an almost literal way they have.)

I know now why this issue is so hard. We so deeply love the people we disagree with. It would be so much easier to just dismiss them as the devil’s spawn like the protestors tonight have done of us. But seeing Jesus in the faces of our friends means we can’t ignore and we must hear them.

The people from the Diocese (+Paul, Jan and Hilary) were wonderful – and I have so much admiration for all the hard work they have to do. The work of my committee is much easier by comparison, and I should be done by Sunday. I intend to go back to Prayer Book and Liturgy hearings when I can. I want to hear the music again.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...