By Ken Asel
A Reading from the Gospel of Mark 4:35-41
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
“Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
On Thursdays I talk theology and have lunch with a group of retired United Methodist pastors. When I first began, they had many questions about the Episcopal Church. At first they wanted to know how we navigated the controversies on marriage and sexuality the UMC is currently addressing. The COVID-19 virus delayed the anticipated fracture of the Methodist church last year, but plans are in place for consideration of a Christian view of marriage at their spring General Conference. Their primary concern was not the theological implications of the division, but the loss of fellowship and friendships that would be inevitable with the breakup. Apart from my personal commitment to a particular side of the issue, I acknowledged how we have all suffered through the painful experience of a similar loss.
Another common topic among us has been the proposal for shared Eucharistic ministry, which is also on the General Conference agenda. I was invited to share Eucharist with them. Several weeks later I was asked to be the celebrant. I participated in both and experienced the presence of God. Writes Alan Jones, “In this spirit of love and joy the true Christian mentality is more a banquet than a fortress.”
We should not be afraid of supporting as many efforts as we can that lead to more and more reunion of God’s people. Perhaps next Octave of Christian Unity will have one less division to heal and one more reason to rejoice and witness to others. In the words of John Wesley:
Do all the good you can; by all the means you can; in all the ways you can; in all the places you can; at all the times you can; to all the people you can; as long as ever you can.
(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest from the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie & he have been married 30 years and reside in the Texas Hill Country.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Akoko Edo (Nigeria)
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Fort Thomas, Ky.