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again to all.
Recently on a popular Anglican mailing list we've belonged to for years, a somewhat
startling thread was introduced. The stark subject: 'What would you be willing to die for?'
A number of people tackled that tough question. Some posited situations of a
sudden family catastrophe, where a split-second decision would save a child's life. Others pictured scenes of political terror, where the
choice was to deny one's faith and liveor abandon it and die. Still others developed scenarios where one's self-sacrifice would save
many lives. And, as is usual on mailing lists, there were variations on all these. In the thicket of responses, one thoughtful reply pointed
out that in the developed nations of the world, rarely does the choice of living or dying arrive so dramatically and in such chiaroscuro.
Or so thought a bishop in the Episcopal Church:
Once, at Mount Calvary Monastery in Santa Barbara, a house of the Order of
the Holy Cross, an Anglican religious order, a young cleric sat down at a table with me* and a great bishop of the
church, Daniel Corrigan. Dan was in his eighties at the time, retired, still strong as an ox. For most of his life, he had defied authority
for the sake of compassion. [...]
As we were eating together, the young priest was suddenly overcome with earnestness.
"Bishop Corrigan," he asked, through a mouthful of French toast,
"What would you die for?"
"Water rights," Dan replied, without missing a beat.
The boy sat back in his chair. Dan smiled. "Why
not?" he asked. Then he continued, "You don't actually get up one morning and decide to die for something. You put your foot on
a path and walk. One day, you look back, maybe fifty years, and say, "'That's what I gave my life for.'"
Championing water rights may not seem, at first glance, much like dying a martyr's
death in a coliseum, upside-down on a cross, or by gunshot, knife, or rope, as Christians die today in war-torn and persecuted areas of the
world. But any dedicated life lived in the love and service of Our Lord, no matter what the sphere of activity, can require a journey along
a more private Via Dolorosa and demand the steady giving up of self for a larger cause, toward an end that the giver may never see,
but which has advanced the Kingdom of Heaven a little more.
What is it you are giving your life for, day after day? We have no doubt that
the devoted service of parish priests throughout the Anglican Communion is one clear answer. We salute our friend and occasional
contributor, the Reverend Timothy Nakayama who tomorrow (25 February) marks the 45th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
He writes to us:
'Life 45 years ago in Southern Alberta, Canada, was a time of black-and-white
television from a distant station. For a pass-time, I was a short-wave listener of ham radio on a tuner mounted in my car that operated on
vacuum tubes. We cut stencils on manual typewriters and called the mimeograph, "The Twentieth Century Prayer-Wheel". By using a
broadcast-quality tape recorder it was possible to send a weekly radio program from a station over 200 miles away to blanket the whole diocese
and to reach children who participated in Sunday School by mail.
After 25 years at St Peter's, Seattle, I retired and in 1990 was serving in Okinawa, Japan. In
the mid-1990s I discovered how to access the internet and soon came upon Anglicans Online. Advancements in graphics, colour, photos, sound,
and search capabilitiesin less than ten yearshow remarkable!
Since my stroke 20 months ago
in Okinawa my energy level and power of voice projection are not enough to celebrate or assist, but I thank God for health and vigor to do
many things: help with household chores, drive short distances, walk, shop, talk, communicate by e-mail, and join parishioners in the nave
for public worship.
Now, once again in Seattle,
I greet you, with prayers for Anglicans Online!
And our prayers to you, Fr Timothy, for many more years of love and service.
See you next week.
Last updated: 24 February
* From Nora Gallagher's Things Seen and Unseen