Benedicta Ward translates this story:
A hermit who was anxious went to Theodore of Pherme and told him all about it. He said to him, ‘Humble yourself, put yourself in subjection, go and live with others.’ So he went to a mountain, and there lived with a community. Later he returned to Theodore and said, ‘Not even when I lived with other men did I find rest.’ He said to him, ‘If you’re not at rest as a hermit, nor when you’re in a community, why did you want to be a monk? Wasn’t it in order to suffer? Tell me, how many years have you been a monk?’ He said, ‘Eight.’ Theodore said, ‘Believe me, I’ve been a monk for seventy years, and I’ve not been able to get a single day’s peace. Do you expect to have peace after only eight years?’
We have an anxious church that is seeking peace. It is a church that asks how long must we wait for the peace we say we all desire. If a single monk, Theodore, did not have peace after seventy years, then what makes a denomination of 3 million think that we can have peace after just fifty years?
We can split the denomination, I understand it has happened before. I understand that growing by dividing is possible. I understand there is harm being done. However, what makes us think that the split that the UMC is facing will be THE split that brings us to the peace we long for? What makes us think that any denomination or church could ever be at peace?
Maybe the peace we say we long for is just the excuse we cling to in order to divorce ourselves from one another.
How long must we wait for the peace we desire? Longer than we have tried - if we have ever started. A split will not bring us the peace we think we will get. Fights will continue, just read the Bible. Do we think that this is the generation that will arrive at the peace the church says it desires?