GENERAL SYNOD has been on my mind! And my mind both wandered and trembled a little (a kind of mental palpitations!) whilst reading the Agenda from the safe distance – and relative peace and quiet – of my vicarage in Bramhall. I’m grateful for those who are possessed of a synodically-minded constitution and am mindful that they’ve got a lot on their plates this week. And that mindfulness has had me thinking some more about what it means when we speak of being “the beloved of God” – male or female, straight or gay, in the “prime of life”, or towards “its closing day”.
Does the synodical environment make it easier to remember our human beloved-ness, or harder? “Is it possible,” asked a beloved (and at the time fairly conservative) bishop friend of mine, “to legislate for love?” What does “salvation” mean for a Church struggling with internal divisions and apparently circular questions on the one hand and circular certainties on the other?
How is it ever possible for anyone to jump down from the merry-go-round in order to have a bit of a rethink? Where is grace to be found in the Church of England this week? Where is grace to be found in what Robert Davis Hughes calls Beloved Dust …
In short, what we call the entire “economy of salvation” from creation through the covenant with Israel, through the Christ event, through the whole subsequent history of the church and the world to the moment we begin to notice is already filled with “grace” in two senses: the entire story is a story of God’s graciousness in and toward creation, and indeed begins in the self-expression of God, the Fount of all Being in an Other, the Word/Wisdom, by the power of the Holy Spirit; second, it is a story, from start to finish, of the mission of the Holy Spirit, from her first mysterious involvement in the generation of God’s triadic unity to her own proper mission in the consecration and fulfilment of all things.
Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life, Robert Davis Hughes III, page 72, Continuum, 2008
Consecration and fulfilment of all things … the mission of the Holy Spirit … my palpitations are quietening, and I turn to my silent night prayer. Consecration and fulfilment of ALL things …
May it be so. Holy Spirit is at work. We must trust her.