Chapter 6

Chapter Summary

The abandoning of certainty and comfortable secure positions is a risk. Taking down the walls exposes us to the potential of rejection and failure. When Hagar ran away from Sarah she was confronted by God who commanded her to return. The turn from flight was met with the reconciliation with Abraham – but not Sarah – and the blessing of her child. God asks us to take risks as we journey with one another. Where this has been applied in the Anglican Communion people have walked with those they disagree with to develop relationships. The process is especially risky for those in leadership. They have to trust God and they have to trust the people of God and be open to a future they cannot control. This was the way chosen over the dispute about women bishops in the Church of England. A process was developed that helped synod members to engage with one another across normal divides. Such processes demand that truth is told and this can be very frightening. The relationships formed between three dioceses from Tanzania, the USA and England could have been destroyed by the realisation that there were gay Christians among them. It was when they understood the story of Christ through the eyes of indigenous Christians that they could be honest and open with one another. Only when we are honest with one another can we approach truth together. Jesus took a great risk in entrusting the church to Peter the unreliable enthusiast. Peter had misunderstood, fought against and denied Jesus. Jesus asks this frail human if he loves him with all his heart. When Peter replies that he loves Jesus as a brother, the question is asked again and then for a third time. Despite this he is handed the responsibility for the future of the Church. We who are imperfect and who fail are the inheritors of this call.

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