Saturday, November 8, 2008
The Bishop of Jamaica was at Calvary Church Pittsburgh for The Feast of St. Michael's and preached the following sermon. He speaks eloquently about the Anglican Covenant and the responsibility we all bear towards one another in the communion.
Let me say something about the proposed Anglican Covenant as a way of "affirming the bonds of affection." There was large support at Lambeth for the idea of a Covenant and this awaits further fine tuning from the design group. A covenant is not a contract and therefore any suggestion of a covenant becoming some kind of legal instrument, enforceable by the threat of exclusion from the Communion, if one does not conform, must be resisted. This was the general feeling at Lambeth. Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks suggested a way in which we could think of Covenant in non-legalistic terms. In a greatly appreciated address at one of our plenary sessions he said in part:
"In a contract, two or more individuals, each pursuing their own interest, come together to make an exchange for mutual benefit A covenant is something different. In a covenant, two or more individuals, each respecting the dignity and integrity of the other, come together in a bond of love and trust, to share their interests, sometimes even to share their lives, by pledging their faithfulness to one another, to do together what neither can achieve alone. A contract is a transaction. A covenant is a relationship. Or to put it slightly differently: a contract is about interests. A covenant is about identity. It is about you and me coming together to form an 'us'. That is why contracts benefit, but covenants transform" (Sacks).