"Send out Your light and Your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling." Psalm 43:3

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Verse inspired by 'O Oriens'

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

A poem for Advent.  More specifically, a poem inspired by the "O Antiphon" for 21 December, O Oriens (O Rising Sun, or Morning Star).  The O Antiphons will be familiar to anyone who has heard or sung the well known Advent hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel, which is a musical setting of the antiphons, to be sung at evening prayer in the final week before Christmas.  The antiphons have a treasured and ancient history in the liturgy of the Church, about which more can be read here. 

I sat waiting in the darkness
For the sun to rise, bringing light
And warmth to cracked and bloody hands,
Grey eyes, and a body listless.
The darkness stretched onward, this night,
The longest, and cold.  Restless bands
Of wand'rers, shuffling in the gloom,
Muffled voices and stamping feet;
We all with frosty, bated breath.

The sun that rose did not rout death;
A winter sun of light, not heat.
I heard one, though, who cried, "Make room!"
A voice that spoke of another
Dawn, this one from on high, to break
Upon us, to scatter and draw;
A God who waits within a womb,
Descends to rise from out the tomb.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fr. Robert Hendrickson on the Need for Clarity

Lord, mend or rather make us: one creation
     Will not suffice our turn:
Except thou make us daily, we shall spurn
     Our own salvation.
~ George Herbert

In response to Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori's Christmas message, Fr. Robert Hendrickson of the Society of Catholic Priests, who blogs at The Sub-dean's Stall, wrote a post which lamented the lack of clarity in that message.  Specifically, he pointed out the Presiding Bishop's failure to explicitly use the name of Jesus, or even Christ (an observation which, unfortunately, has clear precedent when it comes to Jefferts Schori's Christmas and Easter addresses).  As a follow-up to that post, Fr. Hendrickson has posted a reflection that nearly perfectly expresses my own sentiments and concerns about the lack of clarity, catholicity, and Christological focus which seems to afflict so many of our spiritual leaders in TEC.  Read it all here.

"There is a desperate need for a faith in this country that is clear, welcoming, and theologically orthodox. I use the term orthodox not to create boundaries and limits but to indicate that we can be a Church that welcomes and affirms not because we are avoiding theological truth and spiritual rigor but because of them. I use the term welcoming not to indicate that we fling open the doors and just gather about and do yoga and hold hands – but because we welcome all into the life-giving work and labor of the Christian faith as we come to know Christ at the Altar and are sent out in reckless joy.
Those coming to our churches are not looking for one more place to be affirmed or marketed to – they are looking for a place that will unmake and remake them."               ~Fr. Robert Hendrikson 

Peace of Christ. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

N.T. Wright: Paul's Complex World, "Much Like Ours"

An excerpt from an interview with N.T. Wright, by Jonathan Merritt at Religion News Service, about Wright's new book, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Though I don't particularly like the adversarial and controversialist tone struck by Merritt in the article's title, Wright has some great things to say, naturally (e.g. "depressingly shallow"; love it!)

JM: Some modern Christians have criticized Paul as “sexist” or even “anti-women.” How does your book inform conversations about gender? 
NTW: This view is depressingly shallow. Paul, like the other early Christians and like Jesus himself, lived in a complex world where, despite what some think, many women were able to live independent lives, run businesses, travel, and so on, while many others were part of traditional structures which still curtailed their options. A world much like ours, in fact! Into that, the main message was what Paul says in Galatians 3.28: in the Messiah, Jesus, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, no “male and female”. We can see this working out when he refers to Junia as an “apostle”, and in the same chapter (Romans 16) mentions several other women who are in positions of leadership in the church–and where, too, he gives Phoebe the task of taking the letter to Rome, which almost certainly meant that she would read it out and explain it to the house-churches. 
At the same time, Paul was a deeply creational theologian, who believed passionately that men and women were created differently and that this God-given difference was not obliterated but had to be navigated appropriately and wisely. As with his political views, so here, he may seem to us to be saying two different things, but this only shows that we are trying to fit him into the Procrustean beds of our late-modern imagination. It’s like criticizing Shakespeare for not writing in 140-character Twitter sound bytes.