Monday, June 23, 2008

A priest visits the Garden of Gethsemane - his painful thoughts about clergy life today

This is by Todd Wetzel. He's part of the big pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I first spotted it on Baby Blue. I was in the Garden of Gesthemane in 1980. As Todd says, many holy sites are "traditional" or questionable, but the Garden is the real deal - an actual spot where Gospel events took place - where Jesus prayed in agony and was arrested by the powers of this world. Some of the trees there today were probably planted and present when Jesus was there in the flesh.

This part of Todd's article really got to me. I can tell you that it is so true of life in the Episcopal Church:

Not all sites are probable sites. This one, however, is thought to be genuine. So, it was especially touching to kneel down, touch the rock and pray. To pray for friends left behind: there have been so many casualties in the twenty years I have been the Executive Director of Episcopalians United, now known as Anglicans United. Clergy, bishops and laity. So many who have given up and joined other denominations. So many who have made choices based on political expediency, citing the need to educate their children and pay the mortgage over taking God at His word. For those who were afraid if they talked honestly and/or candidly with their bishop, they would never get another job, and may not keep the one they have. For those who made the great leap of faith, and their parishes threw them out, saying they were not Episcopalian any more. When Jesus said he came with a sword*, he wasn’t kidding. Taking Him seriously can cost you everything, a lesson I have learned personally. I wept for all of my lost friends and acquaintances today.

*That was in yesterday's Gospel lesson.

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