Sunday Reflection – by Amanda Bourne

Two weeks ago, Mother Anne reminded us that a call from Christ can be both joyful and difficult – Christ’s voice isn’t always accompanied by sunshine and metaphorical rainbows. As I listened to the sermon this week, I was reminded of that reality by Father Andrew’s discussion on blessing same-sex unions.

I have a number of different writer friends from around the country. Some of us have kept in touch for years, and now we’re mostly in college or working our first jobs – figuring out what comes next. A few years ago, one of these friends (we’ll call him John for the purpose of this reflection) announced that they were transgender, and were beginning the transition process. What was formerly a group of women writers had to transform itself to support John as he began the transition. To be quite honest, it felt strange at first, and personally, I wrestled with how to respond.

How did I respond? By doing nothing… that is, nothing differently. We are all close friends, gathered together to support each others’ writing and creative projects, and our individual opinions about the transgender community had little bearing on the reason for which we gathered. I know for a fact that one of my friends disagrees with John’s decision, but her continued caring and kindness towards him is an incredible example of how we, as a group, prioritize our larger purpose as a writing community.

Regardless of my opinion on blessing same-sex unions, I think it is most important to remind myself why we’re gathered as a community. In the Old Testament lesson from Jonah, the passage continues with Jonah’s dissatisfaction over Nineveh’s repentance. Yet, Jonah must ultimately submit his opinion to God, who emphasizes His concern for the larger community instead of Jonah’s definition of right or wrong.

It is for me to accept or reject an ideology or set of values preached from the pulpit as “right” or “wrong”. Living in community with one another isn’t painless – we will, inevitably, disagree. But I don’t think that we’re called define our collective theology down to the letter – we’re simply called to remember why we’re gathered as a community in the first place.

Have you experienced disagreements with loved ones where neither person will compromise?

  • How have you moved beyond these disagreements? Why?
  • What, for you, is the meaning of “community”?
  • How would you define the Christian community?
  • How does God define the Christian community?
  • Do you agree that community is a part of our Christian call?