Synod is now in waiting mode, waiting for the Session to resume and the take note debate on the bishops’ paper on homosexuality to begin. Waiting is an odd sensation. We wait with anticipation; we wait sometimes in fear. On occasions we wait with boredom, sometimes with heightened excitement. When I fist read Bill Vanstone’s book ‘The Stature of Waiting’ when it was first published I realised that we worship a God who waits with us. The God of eternity enters place and time in the incarnation and Jesus takes into the godhead that experience of waiting, as he waits as part of his passion. Vanstone gives us a language for the spirituality of waiting.
But we also wait upon God, the God who acts and that is part of what we are doing now. What will God do with his church?
I did what I wouldn’t normally do, I absented myself from the Group Work. I was never inclined to take part, after all I’d been to three sets of Shared Conversations and all of that seems to have been ignored. But when I read the case studies the groups were to discuss I was even more clear that this was the right decision. Each one of the five case studies presented gay and lesbian people from the perspective of disruptive problems to be solved. There was nothing joyous to be celebrated and the one thing I know about gay people is that the community is joyous – just look at any Gay Pride parade! But with scarcely veiled homophobia the tone was one of LGBTI people being problematic and dysfunctional.
So those of us who shared my views met at St Matthew’s Westminster and there were over 50 of us there. It was a great meeting – positive, energised and gracious. The Holy Spirit was in the room.
So we wait…. We did of course do other business this morning – a new suffragan see for Leicester; a new member of the Archbishops’ Council; a brilliant debate on fixed-odd betting terminals (a great moment of synodical unanimity) and we concluded the work on the amending Canons on vesture and ministry to those who commit suicide. It was then that the Bishop of Norwich and the Bishop of Willesden presented the bishops’ paper and the rest I’ve mentioned.
So that is where we are. It feels like going to the pictures in the old days, we’ve seen the B movie, now we await the curtains drawing back and the main feature being shown. And all those emotions around waiting are palpable in Church House.
God, bless our waiting,
bless our speaking,
bless our listening,
bless our actions
and bless your church.