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I’ve been playing with the word ‘provisional’.

Provisional means temporary, useful or valid for a while – until something better comes along; anticipating that the better will come. Taizé (image above) often stresses the provisional. Having laboured long to produced a complex (famous) monastic Office Book, the monks of Taizé abandoned it as too perplexing to be useful when numbers of young people from many backgrounds and languages started coming in growing numbers to share their prayer.

“Provisional” has within it the word “provision” and the idea of something that will “provide” for present (and forthcoming) needs.

The Lambeth Conference of 1920 expressed well the provisional nature of Anglicanism:

We aim immediately at the planting of Church life and order in all lands, at the formation of Churches, not only the conversion of individuals ; Churches which from the very first shall bevactive centres of evangelization ; at extending not the Anglican Church with its special characteristics, but the Holy Catholic Church in its essentials, which each new Church, as it grows up, may exhibit under characteristics of its own. Ultimately, we aim at all that is hoped for in the coming of the Kingdom of God.

“Provisional” includes “provision”; it also includes “pro-vision“, for the vision. The word, “provision”, has been used since the late fourteenth century, from Latin provisionem (nominative provisio) “a foreseeing, foresight, preparation, prevention,” noun of action from past participle stem of providere “look ahead”.

May all we do, individually and together, be provisional – understood to be temporary, anticipating a better future; providing for and nourishing; and supporting the vision.

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