Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Weekly Witness: The fast that I choose

The fast that I choose.

Fasting as a spiritual discipline has a long and illustrious history. In our Christian tradition, Lent is usually the season most identified with the spiritual discipline of fasting, and I have known plenty of people over the years who have given up things like gin or like chocolate for Lent. Never really worked for me – I’m more of a “take something on for Lent” kinda girl.

But this year I decided to give this fasting thing a try. And I’m not going to wait to give up chocolate for Lent. I’m going to jump right in and give up the bread of anxiety for Lambeth.

You remember the bread of anxiety, don’t you? It’s the thing the New Zealand prayer book tells us to stay away from in the service of Night Prayers: “It is but lost labour that we … eat the bread of anxiety.”

Busted, nailed and guilty as charged. Yes, it’s bad for you. Everybody knows that. But it’s hard to step away from! Like that famous potato chip they used to “bet you couldn’t eat just one” one minute you’ve had just a nibble of that bread of anxiety and the next minute the whole loaf is gone. One minute you’ve just peaked at a couple of gloom and doom emails, press releases or blogs and the next minute you’re ready to give up on the whole kit and caboodle.

“Unnamed sources inside Lambeth Palace report …”
“Anxiety mounts as Lambeth looms …”
“Final straw for Anglican Communion … film at eleven”

It’s addictive stuff ... and as we get closer and closer to Lambeth 2008 it gets to be dangerous stuff. It’s like the junk food we can nibble away unthinkingly that adds empty calories to our waistlines instead of life-giving nutrients to our bodies. The bread of anxiety is nothing less than junk food for the soul -- luring us out of the house of love into the house of fear, seducing us into anxiety rather than action; and replacing our worship with worry.

And here’s what Jesus had to say about that [Matthew 6:27]:

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

So this is the fast I choose: to step away from the bread of anxiety and fill up on the Good News of the God who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to walk in love with God and with each other.

I’m going to refuse to give power to those who think we’re “too radical” because we’re going to go to Lambeth and offer our witness to the power of God’s transforming love manifest in our lives, our vocations and our relationships. AND I’m going to refuse to give power to those who think we’re not radical enough because we’re bothering with Lambeth and bishops and the Anglican Communion at all.

I’m going to reject the premise that the witness of the American Episcopal Church in its 30+ year struggle to live into its commitment to “full and equal claim” for the LGBT baptized has nothing to offer the rest of the Anglican Communion AND I’m going to reject the premise that we have nothing to learn from our Anglican sisters and brothers from around the globe who can teach us so much about so many other things we need so desperately to know and understand.

And I’m going to start now.

This is the fast I choose. Won’t you join me?

In Other News:
Marriage Equality: We continue to add resources to our "Marriage Equality 101" page as the developing story on marriage equality in California develops. Of particular note this week was +Marc Andrus' Pastoral Letter
Canterbury Campaign: It's not too late to join those contributing to make our witness at Lambeth Conference possible through the Canterbury Campaign. Thanks to all who have supported this important work so far!

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