Morning by Morning

"The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward." Isaiah 50:4-5

Monday, August 31, 2015

You Don't Know Alice

You don’t know Alice, but I did. Long ago she went to meet her Maker Who I am sure had some incisive questions to ask her. In the early nineteen seventies I was in a small parish in Massachusetts.  Alice was a member of our parish and for a number of years she had been a bishop’s secretary in a diocese in Pennsylvania. Her church experience was extensive, which is not quite the same thing as having a living faith. She had now reached her seniority and that point in life where she felt that neither tact nor courtesy should govern her words.

The encounter happened in the center aisle of the nave immediately after the Sunday morning service. She was fuming.  She started, “Young man . . .” and I knew immediately for a reason soon to be apparent that I was in trouble. “Young man. You not only talk too much about Jesus, you even make the mistake of praying to him.” She didn’t realize that what she considered to be a stern rebuke I received as a compliment.

What else is Christian faith about if it is not about Jesus the Christ. Take “Christ” out of “Christianity” and all you are left with is “ianity,” which is close to inanity. From the viewpoint of the Theologian Hans Kung, the question at issue is basic” “The wholly personal decision for God and for Jesus is the properly basic Christian decision: It is a question of Christian existence or non-existence, of being a Christian or not being a Christian” (Hans Kung, The Christian Challenge (New York: Doubleday, 1979), p. 260.)

If you truly believe the promise of Jesus, "Lo, I am with you always," why would you give him the silent treatment. As for the place of prayers to Jesus in our tradition consider the following from the Te Deum laudamus in The Book of Common Prayer. 

You, Christ, are the king of glory, 
the eternal Son of the Father. 
When you became man to set us free 
you did not shun the Virgin's womb. 
You overcame the sting of death 
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. 
You are seated at God's right hand in glory. 
We believe that you will come and be our judge. 
Come then, Lord, and help your people, 
bought with the price of your own blood, 
and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

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