As you gather together in the coming weeks and months I’ve been wondering what I would say to you if I was invited to join in on the discussions. A few things crossed my mind and so I decided to, as it were, take pen to paper.
First, I, and we, are praying for you. Not just in the cursory sense, a promise made simply to get someone off our back, but really and truly. It seems simultaneously the least and most important thing we can do. We trust you are listening to the Holy Spirit and just in case we also are in prayer to ensure that this is so. Despite the grumbling and groaning from below the truth is that we really do care about you and wish you many years of rightly dividing the word of truth. We, in fact, are counting on you for this and so we pray.
Next I want you to know that whatever it is you decide to do is not simply about technicalities and obscurities in the Scriptures and canons, it will affect us. In fact what you do is more than simply making decisions, you set the tone for the environment in which we live, work, and find our meaning, the Church. When you are in pain we are in pain. When you struggle we struggle. Discord in a Synod can easily become discord among us all, and when you are in peace and full of grace we rest in that as well. As you pray and deliberate don’t forget about us, the folks you don’t always see, the ones outside the circles of influence who’ve put our hands and our hearts in your care. We’re trusting you to do the right things so please don’t let us down.
Please also understand that we watch you, like children watch their parents, for direction in how we ourselves should be. Words are important but conduct speaks louder than words. We know when someone says “Do as I say but not as I do” and our hearts struggle with this. We also know what genuine holiness is and we are innately drawn to it. Help us to follow you for the sake of the holiness. We know you are human but we need to see at least a passion for something higher and better so we, too, can be the same.
Finally, don’t forget the future. Every time you sit together not only are the saints of history with you but the saints to come as well. Its easy to fall into the trap of pondering just a moment, we do it all the time, but children yet unborn are counting on us and you. And the larger future is the accountability we all will face. Help us to face the great judgment seat of Christ and we will do our best to help you as well. We desire your memories to be eternal and good, help us.
The truth is that we love you even if we complain sometimes. You matter to us and we hope that we matter to you as well. We admire your selfless service. We are blessed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit that flow through you. We give you seats of honor because of the grace that you have been given and the grace you share. Our prayer is that this love encourages you in both good times and bad and that it would be the gift we can return for all you have given us.
Until then we wait outside your door.
In Christ I remain Your servant,
Fr John Chagnon