Off to My First Lambeth
July 15, 2008 8:30 pm
In a few hours I will be off to Lambeth, my first. These past few weeks have been quite a metaphor offering perspective to our anticipated outward displays of our common identity as saints of the Anglican community yearning to become a Communion. Well, the metaphor is about identity. Roja and I had applied for our US citizenship sometime back and as a final phase of this process we were invited to an interview, but not until the end of July. This meant that we were going to have to travel to the UK with our Indian passports, which was fine, except that we needed visas, a convoluted process. Don\'t get me started on the question of how come Indian passport holders need visas to travel to the UK after nearly a century of colonial rule and arguably two previous centuries under the sway of the East India Company! Thanks to the intervention of Bishop Sisk, who knew someone who knew someone, we got our visas, but not a minute too soon.
Our identity of un-belonging was much in my consciousness as we engaged a convoluted process of trying to procure our visas. As hyphenated identity bearers we are constantly reminded of our identity that is mostly neither here nor there. Before you get too far feeling sorry for us or irritated with the world let me assure you that such un-belonging is theologically very healthy. As people of faith, we are constantly reminded of our status as pilgrims on a journey. We are supposed to be neither here nor there, authentically present in the NOW and drawing near God\'s THEN. In this state of vulnerability, our security is fundamentally contained in the identity that comes from a God of goodness and compassion. All other identities seem non-essential, though important, in the sheer clarity of this radiant and pregnant truth.
To procure a visa is to understand who is welcome and who has to be “cleared” before they can be “permitted” to enter for a stipulated period of time. Well, isn\'t this one of the real issues front and center in the Church today. Though some say all are welcome, few actually live by it, and some wonder why we cannot just be an exclusive club for those who believe in 'our' particular way. And Jesus says, come! All of you who labor and are heavy laden, come! All of you blessed ones who hunger and thirst after righteousness, come! All of you who have endured a history of whatever “ism,” come! Come as you are because you are welcome here. In this place at this time, because this is not a nation, not a gated community, but a state of mind, a state of heart, a state of God’s future, and perhaps the state of heaven on earth, if we will let it be.
I am off to Lambeth, with your prayers as we seek to faithfully build Christ\'s beloved communion. Will be in touch.