Saturday, July 26, 2008

A handful of observations

1. One anagram for "Global Anglican Future" is:

Ungrateful Cabal Go Nil

2. There was much fuss and bother over the "Buddhist" chant that by Bishop Duleep de Chikera of Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the conclusion of his sermon at the Lambeth opening eucharist. Many of the usual suspects complained about the syncretism of using "Buddhist" prayers.

Turns out that the prayer, while using a Buddhist form, was profoundly Christian. Here is the translation:

I take refuge in God the Father
I take refuge in God the Son
I take refuge in God the Holy Spirit
I take refuge in the One Triune God.

There is an ancient pre-Christian Irish prayer form called the lorica, which invokes God's protection. St. Patrick adapted the form of the lorica to Christian use with a prayer / hymn of invocation that is still used today. Many will recognize the most familiar translation, which begins:

I bind unto myself, today
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three.

I trust those same usual suspects are now expunging St. Patrick's Breastplate from their hymnals.

3. Tomorrow's readings include Paul's confident proclamation:

I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This was the endpoint of the sermon I preached a few months ago at the funeral of a small child. It has always seemed to me the most powerful of the opening sentences of the Burial Office.

Louie Crew has started a new lectionary blog, and his first entry touches movingly and powerfully on this passage.

Priests in my diocese (Newark) often are asked to do funerals for PWAs [people with AIDS] whose families are members of congregations that won’t do funerals for PWAs. When the friends of the deceased person show up, often there are many who have not been near a congregation for much of their life, fearing the condemnation and sometimes even the mockery they would face.

One such came up after the service to ask, “Father, did you write that passage you read?”

“Which one?” the priest replied.

“The one about nothing being able to separate any of us from the love of God, not powers, not…. that one.”

We in the church hold life giving truth for which many outside the Church are spiritually dying, but they will never hear that truth if we don’t love them enough to let God tell them through our lips, “I love you.”

A warning - because of the provocative name Louie has given to his blog, you may get an offensive content warning if you go there. So far at least, he mostly offends in positive and prophetic ways.

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