These are just some thoughts, in response to current affairs within the Anglican Communion, the Catholic blogs I've been reading, and the service of prayer for the Anglican Communion recently held in many Anglican churches around the world (the sermon National Apostasy was preached during this service at my church--this astoundingly timely and relevant message can be found here: http://anglicanhistory.org/keble/keble1.html ). I'm not asking anyone to agree with anything I say here, I'm just thinking on paper, as it were.
If I were free to choose again, I wonder if I would choose differently. If, somehow, I were the person I am now yet had come to that place without committing to a church, would I become a Catholic instead? I think it's likely, but not certain.
In a way, my choice was made the first time I took communion at Blessed Sacrament. That was like a promise, a first kiss. That promise was consummated at my confirmation, and I could no more leave the Anglican Church than I could divorce a spouse. I am no more free to choose another church than a married man is to love any woman but his wife.
And I don't know that I would choose differently, after all. All of the three great sacramental Christian traditions--Anglican, Orthodox, Roman Catholic--lack something. The Roman Catholics and Orthodox lack the focus on and responsibility of the laity that is found in Anglicanism. The Anglicans and Roman Catholics lack the ancient voice of the East that is found in Orthodoxy, as well as many apostolic traditions. The Orthodox and Anglicans lack the successor of Peter, the Rock on which the Church is built. We are all poorer for lack of each other.
Why do so few seem to care about restoring genuine unity in the body of Christ? We either rejoice in the divisions, or we want a false and easy alliance, in which we ignore the differences instead of working towards a common understanding. Where are those whose hearts are broken for the broken body of the Bride of Christ? We would rather complain than pray, write snarky blogs than repent, and enjoy our feelings of persecution than have our hearts broken. May God have mercy on us.
I pray that God will raise up those whose hearts are turned to His Church, and who will work to bind her self-inflicted wounds. I hope and pray that I may live to see the day when we do not have to choose between unity with Rome, Constantinople, and Sarum--I pray for the day when all the traditions retain their distinctive glories, yet are able to partake at God's table together.
Lord, hear our prayer!