Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
John Donne, in his Christmas sermon delivered at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1626, opens with a rather pointed message:
The whole life of Christ was a continual Passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at the first as his cross at last. His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas day and his Good Friday are but the evening and morning of one and the same day.
I have always appreciated the reminder that Donne points towards—the connection of Bethlehem and Golgotha, that Christmas cannot be separated out from Good Friday. In fact it is an even more appropriate statement of the whole of salvation history, that God as author purposes creation to move towards its ultimate fulfillment in the Kingdom. This imagery is even reflected in the collect from the Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord:
O God, who makest us glad with the yearly expectation of our redemption: vouchsafe; that as we joyfully receive thine Only-begotten Son for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when shall come to our Judge, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord: Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
So we come to the title, “World Without End,” a traditional ending for prayers in the catholic tradition. Christmas, the birth of God’s Eternal Word born into our very midst, is the ultimate beginning of our salvation. It is God’s most sacred action in loving God’s creation. The powers and principalities of this world, even from the tender birth of a babe in the manger, see this Jesus as a threat to their world. Recall Herod’s quest to quash this new king and resulting slaughtering of the innocents throughout the land. This is also a sign of the threat to the Kingdom that has also endured throughout time. And yet, the Kingdom, and the visible Body of Christ on earth the Church, stands as the judgment upon it. Christians in every time and place work assiduously for justice, peace, and love to bring to fulfillment God’s eternal purpose.
The whole of creation sings out, “Glory to God in the Highest Heaven.” We join with the angels’ song to add our hearts and voices in proclaiming God’s redeeming love to the world. While so much of this has been lost in the commercialization of our culture today, remember that there is no Christmas without a Good Friday. Easter is around the corner and it is more glorious than any Wal-Mart super sale. Thanks be to God!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
The Charter was approved unanimously with the only question regarding whether or not we should incorporate a yearly membership fee as opposed to what is currently stated as a one time $15 fee.
The rules of the Charter were suspended in order to elect officers to serve up until the week prior to Spring Break, and then the newly elected officers will serve a full year term as stated in the Charter. The election results were: Karen Workman-Booth T'11, Clerk; Charles Canon T'11, Prior; and Chad Krouse T'10, Superior General. We had some fun in choosing the titles! Some dull seminary humour.
We are female, male, black, white, religious, ordained, and lay. We embrace a broad theology of inclusion, seeking to undo the baggage that has been heaped upon Walsingham by various factions in the Church. We proudly claim an Anglo-Catholic heritage while also proudly claiming The Episcopal Church. Our answer is "yes," that it is possible to embrace both and help work to heal a broken world.
Our Lady of Walsingham, I believe, is a source of unity for the Body of Christ. She is the only vision that is highly regarded amongst Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans alike. If we allow ourselves to break free from the chains that have so wrongly tied down this noble vision, we may find that Our Lady's grace and intercession will help us all. Thanks be to God!