Recent events have (or should have) shaken many of us who call the church home. Ongoing revelations of abuse and its cover up. The discovery of mass graves of indigenous children in Catholic-run residential schools. The entangled relationship between colonialism and evangelization and the ongoing effects of this corruption of Christian mission. The list could go on. In the face of all this it can be easy to despair. This essay from a few years ago by Mac Stewart, though, holds forth a different possibility: to redirect our gaze to the church’s one foundation, and to do so in penitence and even desperation. May the one who has borne our sins upon and who went to the cross in solidarity with those over whom we have too often trampled, have mercy on and heal us, no matter what the cost.
Sounds like a very Anglican account of its species of ‘catholicism’ (now in the dated form of Michael Ramsey’s sixty year old ruminations). I’d love to hear what Ramsey would say today. It is a very different ecumenical moment, and a very different (post failed covenant) Anglicanism. We have incompleteness and brokenness to be sure — in spades! That felt different in the sixties, prior to the sexuality debates, the decline of the Church of England, and the growth of the Anglican Communion in the GS.