16 June 2011

Attacking our own Reflections

It's crazy, isn't it?  This bird is endlessly attacking its own reflection in the window.  No matter how many times it slams its beak against the glass, it will not remove the perceived threat.  It is only weakening itself, and potentially depriving its young of their parent.  The next generation may not have life because this generation is exhausting itself in futile attempts to protect itself.

This little bird makes me think about the conflict facing several of our denominations today.  Honestly, from its inception, the Church of our Beloved Christ has been like this bird.  We have been fighting ourselves, striving to identify threats and eliminating them from our midst, and expelling people or entire congregations/denominations from "our" church.  The history of the Christian Church worldwide is filled with all sorts of infighting, and our time is no different.  It deeply grieves my spirit.

I wonder when we will cease this attack.  When will we understand what Paul means when he says that our battle is not against flesh and blood?  I truly long for the day when Jesus' priestly prayer for us is answered in full!  When we will truly be unified and will be known throughout the earth by our love for one another and for God and for the whole of creation? 

Paul warns us that we need to be careful if we insist on biting one another that we aren't devoured by one another.  This is part of why I find zombies an excellent lens through which to view, critique and correct the Church.  But today's reflection is about a different viewpoint on the same issue.  Not only are we devouring one another, but our perceived threat isn't really a threat at all.  We are only serving to weaken our own structures, and exhausting our resources with internal wars.  What will be left of our congregations if we continue acting like this bird?

The child who was with me while I filmed the bird's frantic fluttering observed that the bird was "silly" for attacking its own reflection.  Is this the observation we want the upcoming generation to have of our churches?  It may be wise to simply return to the nest of our Mothering God, and to simply rest in the knowledge that God will take care of the real threats.  It is not up to us to determine who or what should or shouldn't be in our midst.  The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of removing or redeeming in Her good time.  Our job is to invite others in, and to make room in the nest of the new creation for all of them.

Lord, have mercy on us.  Open our eyes to Your work in our midst.  Help us to trust in Your process and grant us the grace to see others with Your eyes.  Amen.

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