I went out on the river early this morning. It is a beautiful day, and paddling on the river helps me listen to God. While I was there I saw a beaver right in the middle, crossing from one side to the other. I have seen beavers here before, in fact yesterday I saw a tree they had taken down. Several years ago I saw a pair from time to time right below our house, but I haven’t seen one for a long time. It was exciting. As I watched this solitary animal swim sedately along, I thought about the busy colonies beavers usually inhabit. You know, with those cool little houses they build and the dams they create, all working together. Makes you wonder what a beaver or even a few beavers are doing on the Snake River. Did he somehow get trapped here and can’t find his way home? Is he part of an advance party, sent to see if beavers can make a good home on the Snake since much of their traditional lands are now unavailable to them? Did the beavers have a meeting and decide that the river would be a richer place (and it is) with the addition of a few beavers? Or is he a conservative beaver from a liberal colony or a progressive from a conservative place, kicked out for not saying or thinking the “right” thing? I wonder what racism or sexism looks like in a beaver colony? And what does this beaver have to do with this week’s lectionary readings anyway? Sunday’s New Testament reading comes from Paul’s letter to the Romans. It’s one of the many times that Paul tries to explain to us the profound difference between living a life ultimately governed by grace rather than one governed by law. “You are not under the law but under grace.” If I am honest, in the past I have only had fleeting glimpses of what that means, only “sort of” understood why it is so important, why it is foundational. These days I am coming to see more clearly the gift and wonder of grace and the true evil that law can inflict. You see, beavers don’t belong in the river. Several years ago, when I thought I saw three at Celebration Park, every person I told explained to me that my eyes were deceiving me. “There are no beavers here,” they said. “Beavers don’t live in a big river like this.” I thought about those words as I watched the beaver. And then, for some reason I thought about the Anglican Communion. (I told you I hear God better in my boat!) Several years ago the Episcopal Church took the controversial and divisive decision to proclaim that all humans were created by God and would be treated with equal respect, dignity, and opportunity in our church. The focus of this decision was those who were not heterosexual. Although scripture is and has always been clear that God is the creator and what God creates is good, that had not always been the teaching of the church. The Episcopal Church repented, that is, we changed our minds and set about doing it differently. But the Episcopal Church is only a part of our larger church, The Anglican Communion. In the Anglican Communion, our voice was prophetic, that is, very few agreed with us! We were a lone voice (joined by a very few). In discussions in the United States, many were concerned that if we went forward with this decision, we would not only loose members (which we did), but that we would also be ostracized or even thrown out of the larger communion by those with the majority voice. Should we stand by what we discerned was God’s call to a changed understanding of the place of those that are different in our community or should we be swayed by the multiple voices of those calling us to desist? It wasn’t a decision that any took lightly. But here is the beauty of this experience. Here is God’s grace in exactly the right place! You see, it turns out that the Anglican Communion is held together by “bonds of affection”. Sounds silly and old fashion, doesn’t it. But what it really means is that it is grace that is foundational with us, not law. There was a lot of talk about setting standards, making a statement of belief that everyone had to sign on to in order to belong,. . . something, anything! It was clearly needed, most argued, to make people with a different idea fall in line, push “people not like us”, out. But we didn’t do it and God willing, we never will. How can we, if we are truly followers of Christ since Jesus the Christ lived and died to tell us that it is love, not law, not the rules, spoken and unspoken, that holds the world together. It is love, not law that needs to govern our hearts and guide our thoughts. Law leads to judgment and factions and punishing one another. It takes away our freedom of action and our freedom of speech and then our freedom of thought. It calls us to unforgiveness and blaming. It makes love conditional. It makes life conditional. It leads to death. So, even as the world is telling us with its “cancel culture” and judgment that this time the rules will stamp out evil and lead us to utopia, take some time to read to reflect on what it really means to throw aside the Grace of God. Who will we be without dissenting voices? Who will we be without forgiveness? Who will we be if we decide that no one is allowed to go a different way? Who will we be if we set aside the voice of the risen Christ for fear of the voice of the crowd?
Due to the spike in cases, we will not be having services in the Parish Hall this Sunday the 28th. We will be live broadcasting the service on Facebook at 10:30 am.
Gail Christiancy’s Daughter, Amy: She will be remembered and commended to God at a wake, Tuesday at 10:30 at Dakun Funeral Home and at a funeral at 11:30 at Grace in the church. A luncheon will follow. The service at Grace will be live-streamed for those wishing to support the family but are unable to attend in person.
Adventure Club:We will not be having Adventure Club this week. We will keep you updated about when we
Join the Evangelism Team. Mia was called to Grace to help us faithfully connect with and embrace the new people God is calling to our parish. We need 5-6 people to discern and brainstorm. Meetings will be in person or via Zoom. Please let Mia know if you are interested at RevMia20@gmail.com or 208-860-7967
Paradise Point in a Box!The bishop has asked us to remind you that Paradise Point is offering Camp in a Box this summer. The cost is $35-45 per box, for all the stuff you need to have camp at home and online. Check out the website to find the box that's best for you!
Angela's ordination:Angela Lerena's ordination is July 18. Her diocese is not allowing any gatherings so there will be minimal people in attendance. I think we need to think of a way of sending her our good wishes by video, so let's think of what that might look like.