Observing the Reformation Anglican Style

 

As a member of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, it’s hard for me to just jump into the Lutheran observance of Reformation Sunday.  That should be understandable, we’re not Lutheran.

 

So I find myself ‘observing’ rather than ‘celebrating’ 500 Years of Reformation.  It is also, fifty years since Vatican II where the Reformation, Enlightenment and the French Revolution started to be reflected in Roman Catholic thought.  There is so much to consider here, hundreds of years of bloodshed and recriminations of ‘heresy’.  Yes, I know that a church that cannot define heresy cannot define the truth. Still, it is holding your own opinions a little too high when you burn someone at the stake simply because we do not agree.

 

The English Reformation took a lot of time and political will to build up its history.  Famous names abound; Henry VIII, Mary Tutor and Elizabeth I, but it took the reigns of Charles I & II and James to set us apart.  Frankly they set us against one another in a bloody Civil War as well.  That seems to have been the price of keeping the “middle road” in the Via Media.

A Bishop named Lancelot Andrewes wanted beauty in worship and strived for music and art in the church, something to reflect God’s design.  The Puritans wanted nothing but the Bible.  The paths they struck out on were as different as the High Church Liturgists and the Fundamentalist Christians who would tend to make a ‘Golden Calf’ out of the sacred scripture while some other worship the worship.

 

One of the great strengths of our Anglican heritage is the great ongoing conversation we have as church.  The topics change, ebb and flow.  You will always find someone who agrees as well as another who disagrees with you.  Old topics re-emerge and new topics get added.

This ongoing Anglican Reformation is not for the fait hearted, there are bound to be ideas that are introduced that make your blood boil, but we for the most part agreeable.  By that I mean we can get along and tolerate the difference of opinions without compromising my own.

 

We don’t do “Scripture Alone!” and most of the other ‘solas’ of the Lutheran, with the exception of “Sola Gratia”, it is by Grace alone that we are saved.  We cling to our most sensible “three legged stool” of Scripture, Tradition, and the game changer, Reason.

 

So we stand in the middle; “Via Media”; mid stream in the waters of baptism and half way between Catholic and Protestant, the self proclaimed Catholic but Reformed church.  So join the great ongoing conversation1 and bring your friends.  On so many levels, you can observe how we grow.

 

 

1 In the age of social media that conversation is taking place all around us.  The new church is texting, messaging, tweeting and facebooking.  They are also looking for beauty and honest worship that speaks to their hearts and fires their minds.  It would be a good idea not to disappoint them.

 

It’s a time to learn from each other.  Everyone is welcome!

The Episcopal Church welcomes you just as you are…”NO EXCEPTIONS!”

 

 

Have you checked out …www.no-Exceptions.org yet?