Majesty Accessible

The grandeur of God is the measure of his mercy.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

Some preachers speak comfortably from a raised pulpit; others address the congregation from the floor between the chancel and the pews. Parishioners probably differ in their preferences too. Is it better to hear the word from on high? or to have it brought to our level, remembering we are all humble recipients, not the source of the Word?

Now recall the episode in Numbers 4:29, when the people of Jhwh are cured of hideous disease by seeing a bronze serpent lifted up before them. John 3:14 makes explicit the connection between that event and Jesus Christ’s being lifted up on the cross. In both we have a powerful connection between God’s self-offering and visibility. Jesus could just as well have been killed by soldiers in a back room of Pilate’s palace, but the crowd demands to see him crucified.

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Worship in Foreign Parts

My wife and I have been lucky enough to travel and worship in England and Italy. When I am in Italy I attend Mass and take Communion. I know the Church has rules against this, because I am not a Catholic. I know the arguments on both sides of the question, and I think they are all good. I take warrant from my late friend Ev Simson, who on a visit to Haiti asked the presiding clergy there whether he could take Communion. The priest asked, Did Jesus Christ bring you here? Ev answered, Yes. The priest said, There’s your answer.

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Elusive Perfection

Christian faith is comprehensive rebellion against the powers and compulsions of this world, and definitive acknowledgment of citizenship in the kingdom of God. However: glorious as that may sound, come the cold grey light of dawn, we find ourselves still in the same surroundings. We haven’t stopped being meat; nor have our neighbors changed. What do we do next?

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