It is such an interesting mix of traditions. Some aspects of this service could be mistaken as a Roman Catholic liturgy. The Eucharistic Preface:
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, because in Jesus Christ our Lord you have received us as your sons and daughters, made us citizens of your kingdom, and given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:
At the same time, there was a young lady jumping around the front of the altar during the Gospel Acclamation is some form of liturgical dance. This is what this community practices and they’re outside the realm of the Catholic Church, so more power to them for it. I struggle to see the deeper meaning they are attempting to convey through this dance. It did send a message of joy, but does it properly convey that about Gospel? I’m unsure.
One little things that picks at my liturgical senses: I have no idea what the liturgical color of this celebration is supposed to be. Some are in purple, some gold, some red. This is just the “primary” clergy on the altar- when the camera pans out to the large number of concelebrants in the pews, I’m even more confused. Just my personal pet peeve.
The new Presiding Bishop, this female bishop who has spoken favorably of practicing homosexual relationships, has earned a good share of protesting from her church with many Episcopal dioceses asking for “alternative oversight” from another bishop of the Anglican Communion.
Her homily is a call for all of us to return home, that is, our home in God. She refers to St. Augstine’s famous “Our hearts are not at rest until they rest in you” and that we are not home until we’re with God. She extends this to the entire community, asking for healing for the recent division. Whenever we are apart, the Body is in danger. She further extend this to all around us through a call for an end of poverty, AIDS in Africa, and the other “shadows that have darken what God has created.”
We may disagree with liturgical dance or women clergy or the morality of homosexual acts, but there are issues that we can work together. For the end of poverty and disease, to the end of violence and hate, we do agree. We, the men and women of good will, Christian or not, Catholic or not, not only can work together, but we must. For our Christian brothers and sisters, our common baptism is a binding call to join together to bring knowledge of God to all through the common good.
While we do not always agree on how to promote this common good, more binds us than divides us. Interfaith activities, such as the campus area Micah 6 food pantry, is a real, concrete way we can promote the Kingdom of God and live our belief in the dignity of every human person in a situation that actually helps people and still is respectful of our differences.
A request to work together is not a request to ignore that we are different, but a request for us to respect of differences while working together to promote what we all agree is needed.
While I may find some of the liturgical practices of the Episcopal Church odd and simply disagree with some of their moral positions, it is nevertheless imperative that we not let those things keep us from working together to help all of our society realize the Kingdom of God in the world and in their hearts.