Two weeks ago was my 20 year high school reunion. My high school class being a bit of an unorganized disaster (they called our class the Black Sheep), we hadn’t yet had a reunion, and I had lost touch with the grand majority of my classmates, despite the fact that I am Facebook friends with a whole bunch of them. One of my old friends who I did keep in touch with is my friend Mike. I haven’t seen Mike and his wife since my ordination, and in that time they adopted a beautiful little girl named Vivian, who is now three years old. In their very sincere effort to be all they can be for little Vivian, Mike and his wife have met up often with groups for adoptive parents and adopted children, and last weekend he told me about a woman he met who had been adopted as a child by none other than Charlton Heston. Heston was known as a tough guy of course, and he actually was pretty tough. Director James Cameron pursued Heston for some time to play a character in his movie True Lies, and when Heston asked Cameron why he wanted him so bad for the movie, Cameron replied, “I need someone who can plausibly intimidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Anyway, Heston’s adopted daughter told Mike that years earlier her father was giving an interview when the fact of her adoption was brought up by the interviewer. The interviewer asked Heston which of his children was adopted, to which he replied, “ I forget.”
I forget. You can’t make that up, can you? What love must a man have for his children, all of his children, that such petty divisions just cease to be? It seems that in this case, for Heston and his children, that they participated in the Lord’s “plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in (Christ Jesus), things in heaven and things on earth.”
We are not always so blessed, blessed to be united in all things. I have friends who do little but bicker over the relative qualities of President Obama and candidate Mitt Romney. I have friends who do little but bicker over the resolutions set forth at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, which just ended this past Thursday. My friends were just modeling themselves after the delegates who actually went to General Convention, which seems odd, since actually going to General Convention is little more than a signal to the whole world that you have nothing better to do, so you might as well go to General Convention. Some interesting things happened at General Convention which led to some gossipy things happening there; the national Church approved church structure changes and codified a rite for same-sex blessings, leading to much bickering and to the delegation from the Diocese of South Carolina to just up and leave. All things were not united in Christ on earth, our divisions did not manage to cease, and in most cases our divisions just seemed to get worse.
That said, we are not living, as St. Paul puts it, “in the fulness of time.” What Paul means by ‘fulness of time’ is that God’s plan for us works itself out in God’s good time, when God feels like it. In the fulness of time, God sent His Son Jesus Christ; God sent Jesus when He Himself thought it well and good to do. In the fulness of time, God the Father will send Jesus back to us; that time is unknown to us but it will happen, in the fulness of time. It will be in that time that Jesus will draw all things to Himself, uniting us in His love, making divisions to cease.
So what of our time, what are we to be doing now? If it is not yet time that our divisions will cease by God’s decree, is that an excuse to allow divisions to grow? Of course not! Remember how St. Paul described Christians, described us, in his letter to the Ephesians: we are the people of God in Christ, who have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” that is, even the blessings bestowed upon the angels and the Saints, “that we should be holy and blameless before him…to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in (Christ Jesus).”
We are, as Christians, given the blessings and grace to be united in Christ, but unity is still work, work accomplished only with patience and godly charity. We are blessed here in Bordentown to be united by a common and energetic tradition, by a sense of urgency in the mission that God has given us, and by our shared partaking of the Blessed Sacrament. We are, as Paul tells us, brothers and sisters in Christ, the adopted sons and daughters of God, who, in the fulness of time, when He is asked who among us is His child by adoption, He will say, “ I forget.” May everyone, by His grace and our witness, become children of God by the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.