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Monday, April 28th, 2014
|Times change, but some things are for ever
The UMC shakes and totters; meanwhile, the UM scouting ministry seems intent on tearing itself apart -- dividing into pro-GCUMM (or perhaps I should say, anti-NAUMS) people and those who still remember the days when we were all working together in Christ's name. It makes me very sad. There is only this, that catches my feelings in full, from the end of Charles Williams' Arthurian poems.
Taliessin gathered his people before the battle.
'Peers of the household,' the king's poet said,
'dead now, save Lancelot, are the great lords
and the Table may end to-morrow; if it live,
it shall have new names in a new report.
Short is Our time, though that time prove eternal.
Therefore' -- he lifted his hands to the level of his brow,
the hands that had written and harped the king's music;
there the ageing began ere the hair was grey,
or the tongue tired of song, or the brain fey;
O but the Bright Forehead was once young!
'Therefore now We dissolve the former bonds --'
the voice sounded, the hands descended -- 'We dissolve
the outer bonds; We declare the Company still
fixed in the will of all who serve the Company,
but the ends are on Us, peers and friends; We restore
again to God the once-permitted lieutenancy;
blessed be Dinadan by whom the lieutenancy began
when he called Us on the day of fools, on his own day.
We restore it to God in each singly and in all.
Receive it in God.' One of the household said,
shining through grief, the king's poet's steward,
a strong star: 'This is the last largesse;
give we freely, companions; but first, lord,
let us live again the moment of ratification,
a superfluous necessity; let us lay our hands again
between my lord's, and swear that the household endures
for ever, and we yours in it.' Taliessin
answered: 'What skill have We had but to be the will
of the whole Company? -- We a needful superfluity,
the air in which the summer stars shine,
nay, less -- the mode only of their placing and gracing.
It is a command; swear.' While it was done,
lightly each in turn and each with the other,
and each with the king's poet, the least of his household,
all the household exchanged the kiss of peace.
The barbarians and usurpers may win, but they gain nothing, they build nothing, and they know nothing of what they claim to prize.
I'm afraid the Jamboree we're going to do in Congo will not be a stepping stone to more and greater things, but merely the Last Hurrah of our Conference scouting ministry. I don't see anybody coming up who would be able to pull off anything like it. The Conference likes mediocrity. The "official" leadership in Nashville likes mediocrity. Nobody cares if you do ministry, only that you go with the flow.
But those of us who have been carried by the Spirit across continents to do great things will not forget. Nor will we be less than we are, now, even if we have no followers. And we will remember.