My heart is troubled even unto death.
The Father’s House is without music and dance.
The Elder son is staying out!
The Younger is happy eating the pig’s pod!!
When will I hear the Lark sing again!
Who will play the music and sing.
I hear him cry, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
I hear him say, ‘Peace be with you.’
Therein lies the mystery of love.
No greater love than the one laid for friends.
Would the brothers ever be friends again?
Would I ever hear my sisters sing again?
Would Mary sing Magnificat, again?
Would the bearer of Christ make music again?
There is no peace without repentance.
There is no joy without forgiveness.
St Andrew Cathedral Church is the Home of the Father who has two sons! The Elder son is Orthodox and the younger one is Radical. The Orthodox stays at home, does the right things and enjoys the comforts of the Father’s House. The Radical is addicted to gambling, ready to take risk at the expense of others and never sure of himself. The Father has enough and more for the whole world and yet neither of the sons enjoy the blessings of the Father’s House. The Elder believes in servitude to enjoy Father’s love and affection. The younger seeks the pleasures of the forbidden fruit and breaks the heart of the Father.
When I am with the Father, as I contemplate, there is a deep sense of peace, tranquillity and above all, love. The face carries the marks of pain and hurt and yet it also reflects deep love in that dim light!
The sons too have love at the heart of all they do and say. But, it is evident that the love of the Father has a distinctive substance and texture which is not in the love expressed by the sons. It is hard not to see the pain in the Father’s heart.
While praying for the gathering of some bishops from the worldwide Anglican Communion in Lambeth, I cannot resist making comparison with the Home of the Father and his two sons. My vocation to serve at St Andrews is one that is full of joy and now a deep sense of peace is added to it since my Platinum Jubilee Walk during Eastertide. I did not see the significance of this walk as I received the call to the work of a Disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ in proclaiming the essence of His message, ‘Peace be with you.’ It was an experiment of Truth. What happens when I walk the length of this Great Britain pronouncing, ‘Peace be with you!’ Besides meeting some great people along the way, experiencing first hand the kindness and generosity of people of all Faiths and no Faith, the warmth and generosity of total strangers, I simply felt the echo of my proclamation, ‘Peace be with you.’ It was a realisation that the Peace I pray for and long for others will be given to me in greater measure than I had intended for others. Such is the nature of the ‘Peace’ that the Risen Lord proclaimed.
And yet, the news updates that comes from Lambeth is none other than the sad state of the Church in the United Kingdom, lost and troubled like the younger son. It seems to be seeking affirmation in rebellion and finding distress and trauma. And the Orthodox elder son is staying out of the Father’s House, successful, growing and flourishing yet without the joy of the Father’s love.
Here at St Andrew Cathedral Church in Aberdeen, I feel blessed to have the honour and privilege of being part of the band of custodians of this Father’s House in readiness to embrace both the Orthodox Elder son and the Rebellious Younger, praying earnestly that this will come to pass in the fulness of time.
My heart is torn to see the Bishops in Africa unable to join their brothers and sisters in Britain and beyond. Equally I am troubled to see those hiding behind the Lambeth Calls while violating each one of them!