Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina: Born Anew?

This Sunday's reading from John 3:1-17 tells the tale of Nicodemus who couldn't understand how one can be born again.

"Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus* by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?"
‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.*
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
It seems to be a fitting lesson fitting for the day after the Diocese of South Carolina voted to affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The DSC notification states that,
"Affiliation with the ACNA brings the Diocese into full communion with an organization of 111,853 members in 966 churches and 32 dioceses spread across Canada, the United States, and Mexico."
Many at 815 may feel like Nicodemus and question how this new birth can be possible, but the ACNA is about to add 20,000+ members with a strong tradition behind them. DSC's influence will be great on the still developing ACNA which doesn't even have a Prayer Book yet.

It seems that either the ACNA or the Diocese of South Carolina is going to be born anew. One can only pray that the Spirit remains with them/us in all of our efforts to grow into the Church that God intends.

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