Yesterday elder statesman of the Anglican Church of Canada Herbert O’Driscoll, addressed a group of over 100 Anglicans from around the Diocese of BC at the “We Together Conference” held at St. Paul’s Ministry Centre in Nanaimo.
Here are my notes from O’Driscoll’s morning address:
As I speak I invite you to listen to me with half of your mind and with the other half reflect on your own experience; listen for where there may be parallels or some sense of connection in your life.
There are moments that make God big for me. If my concept of God is big, prayer will be richer because it will not be locked into religion.
I see certain properties of Christian faith that are essential as we move forward.
Christian faith is:
2. essentially mystical
4. simple and profound
He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside. He came to those men who knew him not. He speaks to us the same word: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which he has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in his fellowship, and as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience who He is.
Christian faith is not information, theology, or history. It is all of these things but most of all it is experiential.
Christian faith embraces past, present and future – if you live between memory and hope, you know who you are.
Each of these qualities reaches out for the greatness of the Divine and makes the journey more wonderful.
Something is happening for which we are joyful and thankful. We are beginning a new chapter in the way humanity relates to all of life. The whole nature of institutional religion is changing.
We can no longer look out at the people gathered for worship and say, “This is the congregation.” We can only say, “Here are gathered people with their various personal, individual spiritual journeys that are held together by their shared experience of liturgy and community.”
Especially in Canada we live in a society that is intentionally secular. So, Christian faith has to become intentional. Up to now in western culture faith was primarily inherited, in the future it will be primarily chosen.
The whole health system is now saying this system on its own is no longer enough for health. We must become participants in the process of our own health. What is true of physical health is also true for our spiritual lives.
Teilhard de Chardin “Mass on the World”
Since once again, Lord — though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia — I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labors and sufferings of the world.
In prayer there are no giants. We are all pygmies. Patch a few words together. They do not have to be elaborate.
If we are prepared to recognize it, we are praying most of the time.
Prayer means placing our lives in the context of a big God.
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
In your name we pray.
from: A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (page 184)
When prayers of intercession are called for, people are very ready to respond. But, when prayers for thanksgiving are called for we generally hear silence.
Many prayers of thanksgiving are offered in silence because they are too intimate.