Sunday, March 27, 2011
House of Bishops, Day Three, March 27, 2011
Today was a sabbath day, meaning that we had no meetings only worship and lots of time to think, pray, and read. It was the perfect day for those activities, quiet, rainy, and foggy.
The highlight of the day for me was the joint Eucharist we held with five of the bishops from the Moravian Church. As some of you may know, not long ago the Episcopal Church entered into a full communion relationship with the Moravians in this country. I admit I don't know much about the Moravians (those interested may want to check out the article on Wikipedia). Theologically they are much closer to the Lutherans, but their liturgical life is "higher", and hence closer to us. Unity is very important to them, especially unity among Christians. Their original name was Unitas Fratrum, the Unity of Brothers.
What I did not know until tonight was that their founder John Amos Commenius (d.1670), was sent into exile and his church (which began in what is now the Czech Republic) was nearly destroyed. From his exile he commended his church into the care of the Church of England. Tomorrow will be the 400th anniversary of Commenius' birth, and I think he would have been pleased to see us together tonight. The Moravians love to sing, and during the service tonight we sang many of their traditional hymns. These words got to me:
Is this our high calling, harmonius to dwell,
and thus in sweet concert Christ's praises to tell,
In peace and blessed union our moments to spend,
and live in communion with Jesus our friend?
Tomorrow we reconvene and spend the day talking about the relationships between Christianity and Islam.