Here’s my challenge to the church around the world today. How about if we call a truce? The world is on fire, it is being flooded and the climate is changing. The people are homeless and searching for a place to take them in and as they seek, they’re being persecuted when they ask for help. The hungry and the lonely are struggling. There’s an ongoing world-wide pandemic.
There’s so much need. What would it be like if we worked beside, or in concert with people who have called us names in the past? What if we forgave them, and showed them our faith by the hard work of our hands and our backs to respond to the needs of the world. What if we coordinated and stopped competing?
To be clear, I’m saying this to myself and my people as much or more than I’m saying to anyone else.
You should notice some new video in this week’s sermon. We are in the process of restarting the virtual worship ministry of St. John’s Cathedral in Providence. The images from the sermon are taken from the Cathedral close in Providence. There’s more to say about this and some new exciting things coming. Please keep watching! (And hold us in your prayers.)
Dear Bishop Knisely,
I’m asking you to read this very long comment in response to your heartfelt words about having a truce. I truly hope that you will do so. .
If Pope John Paul II is on target, as I have quoted him below, our cultural wars will not allow us a truce where our Judaeo/Christian values are involved. I think of Jesus who wasn’t allowed a truce, not even with many of His own people, let alone the Romans. Nor were the martyrs.
I believe that God is giving you a similar and ponderous challenge, not unlike Pope John Paul II and Jesus and countless martyrs. Here is a portion of the speech Pope John Paul II gave when he visited us about forty years ago saying:
“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through….We are now facing the final confrontation between the church and the anti church, of the gospel and the anti gospel…..
This confrontation….is, in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.”
I am an 83 year old widow, member of Grace Church, and close to Jesus since my early childhood. Recently I have had dreams or visions of the ugly side of abortion—the mangled body parts, the babies in heaven in the arms of martyrs crying together with them “How long O Lord?” I have shared these with Jonathan my dear priest. He may already have spoken to you.
These mental pictures tell me we will have no truce, no peace, until we stop killing babies and maiming mothers. We need to see each baby as ‘fruit’ of the womb, not as a subhuman ‘fetus.’ And as teachers of The Way, you carry a much larger load of responsibility. As I said to Jonathan, I see us Episcopalians on the wrong side of this war. It breaks my heart. You, my Bishop, other Bishops and priests, even our beloved Presiding Bishop Curry, are all silent.
I’m sure you heard the California Bishop who called abortion “child sacrifice.” Please ask God if this isn’t Truth, and something critical for you to shepherd us through. Are we submitting the beauty of our faith and indeed the beauty of God created humanity, to the power of a growing anti Christian, anti Faith, anti Life culture?
I am your friend and am praying for you,