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BETWIXT & BETWEEN

I have an urge to rename the Sunday after Ascension “Episcopalian Day”.  The similarities are striking. The disciples were huddled in the upper room “for fear” of the people outside. One may well imagine the debate that went on. Jesus had left a number of parting commandments. “Go into the world and tell”. “Go baptize”. “Do this in remembrance of me.” “Love one another”.  “You will receive dynamic power and you will be my life-givers to the furthest parts of the earth.”

Yet it is probable that Jerusalem was the furthest from home they had ever been.  The treasurer had been dipping in the funds, had turned on Jesus and then committed suicide. Peter had denied he knew the Lord, and only John and the women had hung around and dared to go to the Cross. A likely lot!

Well, like good Episcopalians there was one thing they knew how to do. They held an election. We don’t know how controversial Matthias was, but he hardly moved mountains. We hear nothing about him after his election. Sounds like a nice safe candidate for the episcopate.

If the disciples in the upper room were really like the rest of us, after a long debate about evangelism (sounded like something those fundamentalist Pharisees would get up to) they probably hung a discreetly suitable sign outside saying “Tasteful worship. Visitors may apply for membership.”

No doubt the new treasurer advised that spending the little money available for going into the world would be imprudent and demonstrate a lack of fiscal responsibility. Maybe someone suggested painting the room blue, and after heated debate the motion was carried.

There were probably conservatives who opposed change and thought evangelism was best aimed at those who shared the same world-view and ethnicity, and some wild liberals who thought going to the Gentiles would be good as long as no hint were given that their present religion was inadequate or even untrue. Better campaign against crucifixion and open a soup kitchen, the latter staffed by others.

What about Mary the Mother?  Well let’s not get too High Church. Do we have to make Eucharist everyday?  Share everything in common?  Sounds egalitarian.  What’s all this about the Holy  Spirit. We’ll be holding balloons and waving our arms in the air next.

And so they huddled. No doubt someone suggested that Jesus’ words should be taken metaphorically, were misunderstood, quoted out of context, or elaborated upon when written down hurriedly.

So they huddled and if nothing had happened none of us would be a Christian today!

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