On June 16, 2012 our church is holding the Canadian National Conference to discuss and vote on our position on the issues of marriage and ordination of people involved in same-sex relationships. I believe this will be only the second of the National Conferences to take place in our church around the world. (Way to go Australia for beating us by a week! 😉 )
In preparation for the conference, congregations all across Canada have been participating in dialogue sessions to give people more information on the issues, where the church sits now, and time for sharing and listening to discussion surrounding the topics and how it will affect us and our societies. The conference and the resolutions and actions that follow, promise to be memorable and will most definitely change some lives.
I do not envy the leaders of our church community. While I know how I feel about the issues, I know that even within my local area there are people who either don’t know exactly how they feel about these potential changes, or some who do know but their perspective is not the same as mine. There is confusion. There is uncomfortable disagreement. I sometimes wonder how one even begins to guide an entire worldwide community with so many different situations to consider. This makes me grateful for the opportunity to have my voice heard in a National Conference format and for the diverse voices on World Church leadership teams that work together to convey the feelings and situations of our worldwide community.
But still, I know that no matter which way our votes go there will be people who will be hurt and feel slighted by decisions made. There will be people who will be joyful and relieved. There will be people who may leave the church completely or maybe even worse. I sometimes wonder how we can possibly come out of this without falling apart as a church community.
I recently read a blog that described a kaleidoscope as: “beautiful glass pieces that can appear in unity as well as in chaos at various twists of the cylinder” (Risk and Failure, NovoFemina.com, 2012). I think this description spoke to me because in this time of discernment and decision-making on issues that affect so many people, I saw our church community as a kaleidoscope.
We all have many different aspects of our lives that make us who we are and shape what we believe. When we become a part of a community we try to find the spot where our piece fits with everyone else’s. These glass pieces represent who we are, our individuality, our feelings and desires. They are fragile. We must figure out how all of our pieces fit inside this larger encasing without shattering any individual piece.
Inside this cylinder encasing, within our church community, we can sometimes seem a bit lost, chaotic, not knowing what to do, still sometimes searching for who we are and who we are called to be. We’re trying to fit all our different sizes and coloured pieces in one solid shape. From the outside looking in, all this twisting and turning may not be much to look at – just an assortment of glass pieces struggling uncomfortably to find their place.
Holding a kaleidoscope up to the sunlight can give you an entirely different perspective. Suddenly all these struggling pieces of coloured glass become reflections. Suddenly they seem to be unified pieces that connect and join together to provide a beautiful sight for the person looking in.
This is where our faith comes in. If we are willing to struggle and work together to make room for each person to feel they belong, regardless of what twists of the cylinder we must face. If we are willing to allow ourselves to be seen as imperfect, chaotic, and not all together from time to time; and if we are willing to allow some sunlight in, through understanding, patience and prayer and lifting our concerns up to God. God will light up our path and our moments of chaos. showing the true reflections of ALL the unique pieces that make up our community. If we can find faith and trust in God’s power to illuminate our communal existence, we will find our community to be a truly beautiful and unified vision of hope and peace for our future.
Is your area participating in a National Conference on these same issues? How is discernment and connection with God impacting the process and direction of resolutions on issues in your local community? Where do you see God illuminating chaos in your own life?