As surely as there will be messed up theology and practice in the Church, there is a marked way home. Our challenge is to follow it. That’s hard because it’s not the dynamic way. It’s not full of light shows and professional music and polished communicators. Continue reading “The way home for the American Church”
Since I’ve moved to the Anglican tradition I’m learning far more about the seasons of the Church year. The past Sundays of Lent I definitely felt something was “missing”.
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The priority needs to be given to the public reading of Scripture. We need to systematically read the Scripture in public. The story needs to be impressed into our collective memories.
“If the sermon follows some form of lectio divina (in which the whole of Scripture is read over a period of time), we are more likely to avoid the habit of reading from a few favorite books (usually the Epistles) and preaching from our favorite texts… What we call the ‘exposition of the Scriptures’ should be the clarification of the Story so we can listen to it more attentively and relate to the events more fully.” — Simon Chan, Spiritual Theology
Let us wait with longing…
God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Pity me. Pity me. You’re my friends.
God’s hand has truly struck me.
22 Why do you pursue me like God does,
always hungry for my flesh?
23 Oh, that my words were written down,
inscribed on a scroll
24 with an iron instrument and lead,
forever engraved on stone.
25 But I know that my redeemer is alive
and afterward he’ll rise upon the dust.
26 After my skin has been torn apart this way—
then from my flesh I’ll see God,
my eyes see, and not a stranger’s. (Job 19:21-27a, Common English Bible)
12 After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. 14 If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example: just as I have done, you also must do. 16 I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. 17 Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.” (Jn 13:12-17, CEB)
The call to leadership is the call to serve. It is the call to do the mundane things everyone else isn’t paying attention to. It is to do the “cruddy” stuff when everyone else is thinking, “I’m not touching that!”
Pope Francis I will commemorate Maundy Thursday, and this passage, by washing the feet of youth offenders in jail.
Foot washing is part of the ceremony of the day as we remember the actions of Christ.
Serving in the ordinary should be the action that follows. Jesus picked up the tools of the servant to do what no other person in that room was willing to do. It was a job that needed doing, so he showed the way. Then, he let the disciples know, “This is what I expect of your life.”
Foot washing today is the ceremony. There is nothing wrong with that commemoration.
It’s what happens after this day that determines if we are really people of the basin and the towel.
Am I willing to serve in the mundane?
Am I willing to pick up the jobs that need to be done and do them without the need for applause when it is finished?
Do I want to do a “foot washing” only so I can put the picture on Facebook?
We need the example of the Savior. Serve. And don’t let anyone else know about it. Just get the job done and move on.
“I have given you an example: just as I have done, you also must do.” (Jn. 13:15, CEB)