Hypocrites Anonymous – further thoughts

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(Image: preparation for leading worship on Palm Sunday (dressed in camouflage)  in Iona Abbey last year)

Hypocrites anonymous – further thoughts:  a treasure in plain sight

From the start of my calling to be  EcoChaplain, I’ve enjoyed the experience of  ‘bells ringing’  – things which seem very familiar shining out with significance and meaning for the age we’re in.  

This one’s quite personal, given my involvement with the Iona Community for more than thirty years, however, I’m grateful for any such gift, and it’s a reminder of how great are the existing treasures of our faith and traditions.

Last night I managed to attend my local Iona Community Family group, sharing in the distinctive ‘office’ of prayer which links those in the movement and is used daily in Iona Abbey.

Following on from the previous post’s acknowledgment about the need to acknowledge our damagedness,  and the fact of everyone being, to some extent, compromised and complicit, I found the ‘responsive’ prayer  of confession rather helpful, in that  the gathered community  acknowledges and prays for the moral frailty of the leader of worship, stained with the  involvement of their own people, rather than meekly receiving their leadership as they might that of an isolated spotless saint. 

This way, the leader is “exemplary” only in that they start from the same place as the people. 

(Leadership is good, even to the extent that dictatorship – or unwise and incompetent leadership –  is bad. (Read through the first  few chapters of Isaiah, incidentally, and you might see the point).

Whilst the Iona Community has not yet got round to reviewing  the anthropomorphic version of the quote from Psalm 24 (the world belongs to God/the earth and all its people) which, in due course  might be more creative in pronoun (from “it” to “her” or “their”) and inclusive in subject (creatures, dwells, or those the earth ‘harbours’) maybe even more crucially, it is good  already to offer this prayer both of confession, and recognition that the persistence  hopelessness and worthlessness are not a necessary consequence of the mess we may be in.

Before God, with the people of God

I confess to my brokenness:

to the ways I wound my life, the lives of others, and the life of the world

May God forgive you, Christ renew you, 

And the Spirit enable you to grow in love.

Amen

Before God, with the people of God

we confess to my brokenness:

to the ways we wound our lives, the lives of others, and the life of the world

May God forgive you, Christ renew you, 

And the Spirit enable you to grow in love.

Amen

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Have a good day, whatever mess it starts in!

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