An area that is likely to pique interest is that of “expansive language.” Resolution D078 provides for the trial usage in Eucharistic Prayers A, B and D of language that is more expansive in our relationship and references to God and each other. It pulls in some of the language used in the Enriching Our Worship (EOW) series of services. It includes other changes that many congregations have essentially automatically been making in an effort to refer to God in more expansive language.
How many of us have begun prayers with “God be with you” rather than “The Lord be with you?” This resolution authorizes that language. In the opening acclamation for the Eucharist you will now be able to hear: “Blessed be God: most holy, glorious, and undivided Trinity.” To which the people may respond: “And blessed be God’s reign, now and for ever. Amen.”
One of the provisions of this trial usage is that it is authorized for use until the next revision of The Book of Common Prayer. This means we can use it beginning the First Sunday of Advent, 2018 and continue from there.
Resolution B012 is the one that should allow same sex couples to be married in their own parishes whether the bishop of the diocese approves or not. How that will really play out is still to be resolved.
Resolution D067 calls upon us to use “bias free” language in referring to God and humankind. Most might immediately think that is more gender neutral language but it goes beyond that. The language of some Scripture is almost accusatory in tone. John’s version of the Gospel is sometimes anti-semitic in places. This resolution allows for the use of language that doesn’t automatically convey cultural biases. Hopefully that will allow us to see Scripture with more clarity.
Resolution C054 calls upon the church to be more inclusive of transgender persons and seeks avenues to achieve that.
Resolution D088 calls for the creation of policies for amending church records particularly for transgender people. This should make it easier once someone makes their transition to have some very important records reflect their expressed gender identity.
I find it ironic that we have to pass resolutions to provide for more “expansive” language. God’s love is beyond expansive and always has been. It is our limited view of both love and God that needs expanding in both language and concept. God is beyond our humanly concocted notions of who God is or how God acts or in truth, anything about God. The Divine is always going to be beyond the ability of our limited minds to conceive.
May we learn to be more expansive about how we relate to each other as children of the Living God. Boundaries are of our creation, not God’s. Love knows no boundaries, despite our attempts otherwise.
Holy Spirit, sustainer of who we are as God’s children, expand our minds to engage with our fears and ignorance to see each other as God sees us. Holy Spirit, expand our hearts to match the boundless heart of God in pure and holy and unconditional love for each other and for the God to whom we turn in faith and trust for all that we are.
Please continue to offer prayers for healing and recovery for our Presiding Bishop as he rests and recuperates from prostate cancer surgery.
Bruce Garner, President
Integrity USA: The Episcopal Rainbow