The theme of our upcoming Diocesan Synod is “Faithfulness to the Gospel”. The word “faithfulness” caught my eye and my imagination and so I thought that I might spend some time playing with it to see if I might learn something new about it that I could share with you. It might be that the word “faithfulness” is something that we all seek to be but often find that, sooner or later, we are not. We struggle mightily with this idea of fidelity (of being faithful). We find it almost impossible to be faithful to anything else, anyone else in our North American culture because by enlarge because only the self counts. We live as if only ‘I’ matter: it is my truth, my way, my life that counts. As a consequence therefore, faith and faithfulness fall by the wayside because a lack of faithfulness leads to the degrading of our abilities to communicate with each other, which cause our communities and our society as a whole to fracture and crumble.
Fidelity, according to an online dictionary (Merriam-Webster.com) I consulted is the quality or state of faithfulness. Fidelity is an exercise in exactness, working to be accurate in detail. Fidelity is the effort one puts into whatever is being done to be true to the facts, to a standard that needs to be lived and to the original text of writing. So if I have my understanding correct, fidelity is living out the command that Jesus gave us: love one another as I have loved you. Faithfulness moves from being adverb to be a verb. Faith and faithfulness are not just some that a person has, it is something that a person becomes that quality, enters into that state by living it. And in order to live it, it must be connected to others, beginning with God and then to neighbour. The interesting thing about this word faithfulness is that according to the same online dictionary, faithfulness is “obsolete”.
We are moving into and have come to an age in North American society where we are able to create social situations of “liquid gender”. People are able to choose what gender they are and to create that reality for themselves. More and more in civil society, we are trying to uphold a person’s right to choose for themselves, without regard for the impact on and the consequences for the community in which everyone needs to participate to help maintain community and society. Even within the Church, we fail to recognize that such belief and social action have an impact on the sacraments of both baptism and marriage. So rather than dealing with what is going on, we being to act and sound like the rest of the world rather than resisting the tide and choosing swim upstream. And in living this way we create an inability to be true to the Scriptures and to our relationship with the Almighty.
So what can we do, to stop and try to reverse the degradation of relationships and fracturing of our society? We must be the Church, wherever and whenever we are and are together. We must be the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ when we are apart and be his Church when we are together for worship. We must be choosing to be in worship regularly, to participate in the Eucharist thereby ridding ourselves of our idolatries and being empowered to live his life in this world. And we must make strides to aid each other in our walks, day by day. None of us can do it alone. Being a faithful follower means that we know that God is here and we, as his Church are with him; for now and for always.