Fr. Tony Clavier: SACRIFICE


Fr. Clavier has posted an essay which begins with his reflections on the news that he has been stricken with a form of cancer. His thinking about the disease leads him to think through the meaning of Church in light of this new lens with which he is being forced to view the world right now. His thinking leads him to ponder the true meaning of being an inclusive Church:

“Jesus taught that getting to kingdom come involved walking into self-surrender and even death. I was thinking about that at one of the General Convention Eucharists. I had a fantasy. I dreamed that the leaders of all factions walked to the altar at the offertory. Each bore on a proper and liturgical cushion a note containing details of the cause for which they fought. They placed these on the altar, turned, and walked out, and we all followed in silence perhaps muttering ‘And here we offer and present unto thee O Lord, our selves, our souls an bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice unto thee;’ that is if we were old enough to remember those wonderful words. Suddenly the hall was empty. The elements lay lonely on the Table. And Jesus wept.

The problem is that in the midst of all this chatter about Baptismal Covenant we have forgotten two things. The first is so obvious. We are baptized into ONE church. So says the Creed. We are thus one, entirely one, inseparably one with fundamentalists and pentecostalists, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics, Copts and Armenians, not to speak of Anglicans everywhere. So we can’t separate or be impaired even if like Jonah, we pretend we have escaped. To think we can be alone is pure sectarianism.

Secondly, the Creed trumps the Catechism. Baptism is primarily ‘for the forgiveness of sins.’ It is only when we offer our incompleteness, or dysfunction, our pride and self-satisfaction, only when we die, and behold we live, that we can even begin together to live into Christ’s promises and be faithfully Christ’s Church. I believe that we as a church have to drop all our pretensions and give up, just give up in faith and fear. Then begins the Kingdom in us all.”

Do keep Fr. Clavier in your prayers. We are in need of such a voice within our Church right now.

Read the rest here: SACRIFICE

The Author

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