Our second conversation with Bishop Salmon concerned the existence of systems. Relationships are systemic. The Gospel is systemic. Systems are an interconnection of relationships, and any relationship affects the whole system. We are reminded of St. Paul’s picture of the Church as a Body under the Headship of Christ. And as St. Paul said, there is a way in which each member of the body properly working together with the other members of the body brings wholesomeness and health.
Bishop Ed reminded us that habit creates a blindness to the nature of the systems of which we are a part. Systems relate to family life, marriage, parishes, business, anywhere that human beings live and work. The Gospel tells us that our systems are broken and that Jesus has come to restore them to wholeness. Christ’s Body is broken, and His work and our work is to build up the body of Christ by working toward the body’s restoration. Who is God? God is the One who brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, and raised Jesus from the dead! In light of that, what would God like to do with us?
In practical terms, this means that we, first of all, need to be aware of the systems in which we have leadership. If we aren’t aware of the nature of these systems, these systems will own and victimize us. Secondly, we need to practice ways of shining light upon the dysfunctions of our relationships and systems in order that wholeness may be regained. You have to name the demon in order to cast it out!
However, we need to do this in a way that is not the “giving of information”, but rather a “shining of the light” upon our life together. How does one shine the light without causing a fight? It takes practice. But to shine the light will enable change to happen.
Last of all, Bishop Salmon suggested that if we are to confront someone, we must first of all faithfully and deeply love them and care about them, and they must know this. With that fundamental trust in place, meaningful, truthful conversation can happen. If that love and care is not in place, it would be better to say nothing!
Of course, the Holy Spirit is not limited by our limitations in being able to see clearly. The Holy Spirit can teach us through our mistakes! But let us at least aim to make as much as possible of ourselves available to the Holy Spirit for His work.
Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!