The convention is over. As has been the case the last several years, it was a low key affair without conflict. One highlight for me was worship. I was able to stop for some time and simply praise and thank God. The music was sublime and the setting was wonderful. One prayer did give me pause, it was a prayer modeled after the Lord's prayer from a perspective which is deeply affected by sexism. As I often say, today's solution is tomorrow's problem. In an effort to address the problem of how we treat women, the author of this prayer (from another continent!) ended up using language which is Modalism. That means it divides God into three functions (creator, redeemer, sanctifier) instead of three persons. See, the One God is three persons and all three are involved in each function. I am less distressed than others about using the Lord's Prayer as a model. After all, the English version we use is a translation of a Greek prayer found in the bible. And the Greek prayer is a translation of the Aramaic original. Based on my study of the Greek, I make my own modification most of the time. However, the translation we had in our worship went in the wrong direction, as I understand it, so I simply prayed it closer to the original.
Another positive, I thought that there was serious discussion about a focus on basic Christianity. Many voices shared a concern about things which I hold dear. I was able to share my beliefs in a setting which was not hostile and people listened and heard. Something which I had said last year at convention found their way into this year's document. That is progress. Several years ago it was very contentious. At times it was so heated that the atmosphere was like combat.
There was, however, for me, an experience of bloodshed. As I left on Saturday, I was able to go to the Germanown Lifeblood Center. I have a special type of blood which is used in transfusions for babies. My iron counts had been running low so my doctor told me to give it a rest for awhile. It has been several months since I last gave. However, the Lifeblood folks have called regularly because there is a shortage for the babies. I decided to give again a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, my schedule is pretty full most of the time. On Saturday I had a small window of opportunity. So I ran by and gave. I met a nice Catholic woman from St. Augustines. She was giving as a start off to Lent. The nurse attended St. Mary's where I started out as a priest. After giving blood I grabbed a sandwich and went to church to pray with our healing group. At five o'clock we had eucharist. Around five forty I read the words of Jesus, what we call the consecration. "This is my Body, given for you. This is the cup of my blood, shed for you. Do this in memory of Me" Sometimes in my head I sort of reflect on this using diferent language. I think things like, "I give My body and blood for you, now you go do the same thing, give your body and blood for Me, give your body and blood to others." I do not change the words at the service. But I do twist their meaning, just a bit, for myself.
Whenever I give blood, at some point as the bag fills I pray for all those who will interact with it. I pray for the babies who will get it. I pray for their families. I figure whenever a baby needs blood the family has got to be stressed. I thank Jesus for letting me do this in memory for Him. I thank Him for His bloodshed for us. I thank Him for the insight. And I find myself in a very good mood. It is faith, or hope, or joy. So there was bloodshed this weekend, but not at convention! It was shed by me, in imitation of Him. Today, again, you and I will literally and figuratively give our lives over to others, for His sake. My prayer is that the awareness will put you in a good mood, too!