Comfortable Words

A Reflection by The Rev. Jan Nunley

I'm increasingly uncomfortable with "comfortable" being the criterion for the successful completion of what the Eames Commission once referred to as a "process of reception." I hear this from Bishops (when they don't want to take a stand on sexuality) and my congregation (when they don't want to hear about stewardship) and from various people on the national church scene, and it's beginning to bug me. A lot.

In Rite I, we have what are called the "Comfortable Words." They speak of Christ's refreshing us in the midst of travail and burden-bearing, of God's offering us everlasting life in the gift of Christ, of Christ coming into the world to save sinners, of Christ being the perfect offering for sin, and in those things we are indeed to take comfort. But there ain't a gol-dern thing about "feeling comfortable" as a expected condition of being a disciple of Jesus. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Where in Scripture, Tradition or Reason does it promise that we will "feel comfortable" with what God is calling us to do? Isn't it true more often than not that when it's really God calling, it's to something that makes us distinctly UNcomfortable? And that when the majority is most "comfortable" with what's happening (or not happening) is the moment when we're closest to--let's just name it-- apostasy?

Israel in the desert was "more comfortable" with a golden calf to worship. Jonah was "more comfortable" with Nineveh unsaved. The House of Bishops--oops, I meant the Sanhedrin--was "more comfortable" with Jesus and his disciples
silenced. The list goes on and on.

Oh, for a Church that hungered to do the right thing--not just the comfortable thing!


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