Category : Christology

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Controversy over neglected Widows and the story of the Death of Stephen (Acts 6-7)

You may also find more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Saint Ephrem for his Feast Day–Keep watch: he is to come again

To prevent his disciples from asking the time of his coming, Christ said: “About that hour no one knows, neither the angels nor the Son. It is not for you to know times or moments.” He has kept those things hidden so that we may keep watch, each of us thinking that he will come in our own day. If he had revealed the time of his coming, his coming would have lost its savour: it would no longer be an object of yearning for the nations and the age in which it will be revealed. He promised that he would come but did not say when he would come, and so all generations and ages await him eagerly.

Though the Lord has established the signs of his coming, the time of their fulfilment has not been plainly revealed. These signs have come and gone with a multiplicity of change; more than that, they are still present. His final coming is like his first. As holy men and prophets waited for him, thinking that he would reveal himself in their own day, so today each of the faithful longs to welcome him in his own day, because Christ has not made plain the day of his coming.

He has not made it plain for this reason especially, that no one may think that he whose power and dominion rule all numbers and times is ruled by fate and time. He described the signs of his coming; how could what he has himself decided be hidden from him? Therefore, he used these words to increase respect for the signs of his coming, so that from that day forward all generations and ages might think that he would come again in their own day.

Keep watch; when the body is asleep nature takes control of us, and what is done is not done by our will but by force, by the impulse of nature. When deep listlessness takes possession of the soul, for example, faint-heartedness or melancholy, the enemy overpowers it and makes it do what it does not will. The force of nature, the enemy of the soul, is in control.

When the Lord commanded us to be vigilant, he meant vigilance in both parts of man: in the body, against the tendency to sleep; in the soul, against lethargy and timidity. As Scripture says: “Wake up, you just,” and “I have risen, and am still with you;” and again, “Do not lose heart. Therefore, having this ministry, we do not lose heart.”

–From a commentary on the Diatessaron (the single gospel harmony of the early Syriac church), by St Ephrem (ca. 306 – 373)

Posted in Christology, Church History, Eschatology

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–why does the Ascension Matter and why is it important (Acts 1:1-11)?

There is also still more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology

Chris Warner’s Sunday Sermon at Holy Cross Sullivan’s Island-Easter Breakfast with the Risen Lord (John 21:1-14)

Listen to it all or there are others ways to do so there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Christology, Easter, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture

Tuesday food for Thought from Karl Barth

‘It is undoubtedly a way into the far country, and includes an inconceivable humiliation and condescension and self-abasement of God, that in His Son He wills to become and actually does become a man’ CD IV.2 sec 64, cited by yours truly in the Sunday sermon

Posted in Anthropology, Christology, Church History, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What can we Learn this Easter from the Encounter between Jesus and Saint Thomas (John 20:24-29)?

There is also still more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) George Weigel–The Easter Effect and How It Changed the World

This remarkable and deliberate recording of the first Christians’ incomprehension of what they insisted was the irreducible bottom line of their faith teaches us two things. First, it tells us that the early Christians were confident enough about what they called the Resurrection that (to borrow from Prof. Wright) they were prepared to say something like, “I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s what happened.” And the second thing it tells us is that it took time for the first Christians to figure out what the events of Easter meant—not only for Jesus but for themselves. As they worked that out, their thinking about a lot of things changed profoundly, as Prof. Wright and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI help us to understand in their biblical commentaries.

The way they thought about time and history changed. During Jesus’ public ministry, many of his followers shared in the Jewish messianic expectations of the time: God would soon work something grand for his people in Israel, liberating them from their oppressors and bringing about a new age in which (as Isaiah had prophesied) the nations would stream to the mountain of the Lord and history would end. The early Christians came to understand that the cataclysmic, world-redeeming act that God had promised had taken place at Easter. God’s Kingdom had come not at the end of time but within time—and that had changed the texture of both time and history. History continued, but those shaped by the Easter Effect became the people who knew how history was going to turn out. Because of that, they could live differently. The Easter Effect impelled them to bring a new standard of equality into the world and to embrace death as martyrs if necessary—because they knew, now, that death did not have the final word in the human story.

The way they thought about “resurrection” changed. Pious Jews taught by the reforming Pharisees of Jesus’ time believed in the resurrection of the dead. Easter taught the first Christians, who were all pious Jews, that this resurrection was not the resuscitation of a corpse, nor did it involve the decomposition of a corpse. Jesus’ tomb was empty, but the Risen Lord appeared to his disciples in a transformed body. Those who first experienced the Easter Effect would not have put it in these terms, but as their understanding of what had happened to Jesus and to themselves grew, they grasped that (as Benedict XVI put it in “Jesus of Nazareth–Holy Week”) there had been an “evolutionary leap” in the human condition. A new way of being had been encountered in the manifestly human but utterly different life of the one they met as the Risen Lord. That insight radically changed all those who embraced it.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) James Martin SJ–Celebrating Easter: Why a Watered-Down Resurrection Doesn’t Work

…particularly when we look at the disciples, the watered-down resurrection doesn’t seem credible at all. Remember that the Gospel of John (whose author had little to gain by making the disciples, future leaders of the early church, look bad) notes that the disciples were so frightened that they barricaded themselves behind locked doors after Jesus’s death. They had good reason to be. “If the authorities dealt that way with Jesus, who had so many people supporting him,” they must have thought, “what will they do to us?” Even before the crucifixion Peter shrank in fear from being identified as a follower of Jesus. Imagine how their fear would have intensified after witnessing the Romans’ brutal execution of their master.

With one exception, all of Jesus’s male followers were so terrified that they shrank from standing at the foot of the cross, unable to accompany Jesus during his final hours. Their reluctance may have stemmed from an inability to watch the agonizing death of their friend, but much was out of fear of being identified as a follower of an enemy of Rome. (The women, showed no such fear, though the situation may have posed less danger for them.)

The disciples were terrified. So does it seem credible that something as simple as sitting around and remembering Jesus would snap them out of their abject fear? Not to me. Something incontrovertible, something undeniable, something visible, something tangible, was necessary to transform them from fearful to fearless.

This is one of the most compelling “proofs” of the Resurrection.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Theology

At the Center

Without a doubt, at the center of the New Testament there stands the Cross, which receives its interpretation from the Resurrection.

The Passion narratives are the first pieces of the Gospels that were composed as a unity. In his preaching at Corinth, Paul initially wants to know nothing but the Cross, which “destroys the wisdom of the wise and wrecks the understanding of those who understand”, which “is a scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles”. But “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Cor 1:19, 23, 25).

Whoever removes the Cross and its interpretation by the New Testament from the center, in order to replace it, for example, with the social commitment of Jesus to the oppressed as a new center, no longer stands in continuity with the apostolic faith.

–Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988), A Short Primer For Unsettled Laymen

Posted in Christology, Church History, Easter, Eschatology, Theology

Hans Urs von Balthasar on Easter

“Without Easter, Good Friday would have no meaning. Without Easter, there would be no hope that suffering and abandonment might be tolerable. But with Easter, a way out becomes visible for human sorrows, an absolute future: more than a hope, a divine expectation.”

–Hans Urs von Balthasar To the Heart of the Mystery of Redemption (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), p.39

Posted in Christology, Church History, Easter, Eschatology, Theology

AN HOMILIE OF THE Resurrection of our Sauiour Iesus Christ. For Easter Day from the Book of Homilies

For then he opened their vnderstanding, that they might perceiue the Scriptures, and sayd vnto them: Thus it is written, and thus it behooued Christ to suffer, and to rise from death the third day, and that there should be preached openly in his name pardon and remission of sinnes to all the Nations of the world (Luke 24.45-47). Yee see (good Christian people) how necessary this Article of our faith is, seeing it was prooued of Christ himselfe by such euident reasons and tokens, by so long time and space. Now therefore as our Sauiour was diligent for our comfort and instruction to declare it: so let vs be as ready in our beliefe to receiue it to our comfort and instruction. As he died not for himselfe, no more did he rise againe for himselfe. He was dead (sayth Saint Paul) for our sinnes, and rose againe for our iustification (1 Corinthians 15.3-4). O most comfortable word, euermore to be borne in remembrance. He died (saith he) to put away sinne, hee rose againe to endow vs with righteousnesse. His death tooke away sinne and malediction, his death was the ransome of them both, his death destroyed death, and ouercame the deuill, which had the power of death in his subiection, his death destroyed hell, with all the damnation thereof. Thus is death swallowed vp by Christs victory, thus is hell spoyled for euer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Christology, Church History, Easter, Eschatology, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology

The Eucatastrophe

The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy.

— J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)

Spring has sprung in #Summerville! #FlowertownInBloom

Posted by Visit Summerville on Friday, March 25, 2016

Posted in Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Theology

Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Truth of Holy Saturday: Only the wound is there

Suddenly all of them standing around the gallows know it: he is gone. Immeasurable emptiness (not solitude) streams forth from the hanging body. Nothing but this fantastic emptiness is any longer at work here. The world with its shape has perished; it tore like a curtain from top to bottom, without making a sound. It fainted away, turned to dust, burst like a bubble. There is nothing more but nothingness itself.

The world is dead.

Love is dead.

God is dead.

Everything that was, was a dream dreamt by no one. The present is all past. The future is nothing. The hand has disappeared from the clock’s face. No more struggle between love and hate, between life and death. Both have been equalized, and love’s emptying out has become the emptiness of hell. One has penetrated the other perfectly. The nadir has reached the zenith: nirvana.

Was that lightning?

Was the form of a Heart visible in the boundless void for a flash as the sky was rent, drifting in the whirlwind through the worldless chaos, driven like a leaf?

Or was it winged, propelled and directed by its own invisible wings, standing as lone survivor between the soulless heavens and the perished earth?

Chaos. Beyond heaven and hell. Shapeless nothingness behind the bounds of creation.
Is that God?

God died on the Cross.

Is that death?

No dead are to be seen.

Is it the end?

Nothing that ends is any longer there.

Is it the beginning?

The beginning of what? In the beginning was the Word. What kind of word? What incomprehensible, formless, meaningless word? But look: What is this light glimmer that wavers and begins to take form in the endless void? It has neither content nor contour.

A nameless thing, more solitary than God, it emerges out of pure emptiness. It is no one. It is anterior to everything. Is it the beginning? It is small and undefined as a drop. Perhaps it is water. But it does not flow. It is not water. It is thicker, more opaque, more viscous than water. It is also not blood, for blood is red, blood is alive, blood has a loud human speech. This is neither water nor blood. It is older than both, a chaotic drop.

Slowly, slowly, unbelievably slowly the drop begins to quicken. We do not know whether this movement is infinite fatigue at death’s extremity or the first beginning – of what?

Quiet, quiet! Hold the breath of your thoughts! It’s still much too early in the day to think of hope. The seed is still much too weak to start whispering about love. But look there: it is indeed moving, a weak, viscous flow. It’s still much too early to speak of a wellspring.

It trickles, lost in the chaos, directionless, without gravity. But more copiously now. A wellspring in the chaos. It leaps out of pure nothingness, it leaps out of itself.

It is not the beginning of God, who eternally and mightily brings himself into existence as Life and Love and triune Bliss.

It is not the beginning of creation, which gently and in slumber slips out of the Creator’s hands.

It is a beginning without parallel, as if Life were arising from Death, as if weariness (already such weariness as no amount of sleep could ever dispel) and the uttermost decay of power were melting at creation’s outer edge, were beginning to flow, because flowing is perhaps a sign and a likeness of weariness which can no longer contain itself, because everything that is strong and solid must in the end dissolve into water. But hadn’t it – in the beginning – also been born from water? And is this wellspring in the chaos, this trickling weariness, not the beginning of a new creation?

The magic of Holy Saturday.

The chaotic fountain remains directionless. Could this be the residue of the Son’s love which, poured out to the last when every vessel cracked and the old world perished, is now making a path for itself to the Father through the glooms of nought?

Or, in spite of it all, is this love trickling on in impotence, unconsciously, laboriously, towards a new creation that does not yet even exist, a creation which is still to be lifted up and given shape? Is it a protoplasm producing itself in the beginning, the first seed of the New Heaven and the New Earth?

The spring leaps up even more plenteously. To be sure, it flows out of a wound and is like the blossom and fruit of a wound; like a tree it sprouts up from this wound. But the wound no longer causes pain. The suffering has been left far behind as the past origin and previous source of today’s wellspring.

What is poured out here is no longer a present suffering, but a suffering that has been concluded-no longer now a sacrificing love, but a love sacrificed.

Only the wound is there: gaping, the great open gate, the chaos, the nothingness out of which the wellspring leaps forth. Never again will this gate be shut. Just as the first creation arose ever anew out of sheer nothingness, so, too, this second world – still unborn, still caught up in its first rising – will have its sole origin in this wound, which is never to close again.

In the future, all shape must arise out of this gaping void, all wholeness must draw its strength from the creating wound.

High-vaulted triumphal Gate of Life! Armored in gold, armies of graces stream out of you with fiery lances. Deep-dug Fountain of Life! Wave upon wave gushes out of you inexhaustible, ever-flowing, billows of water and blood baptizing the heathen hearts, comforting the yearning souls, rushing over the deserts of guilt, enriching over-abundantly, overflowing every heart that receives it, far surpassing every desire.

–Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988), Heart of the World (San Francisco: Ignatious Press, 1979 E.T. of the 1954 German original), pp.150-153

Posted in Christology, Eschatology, Holy Week, Theology

Eugene Peterson on Holy Saturday

Yet, there was one large omission that set all other truth dangerously at risk: the omission of holy rest. The refusal to be silent. The obsessive avoidance of emptiness. The denial of any experience and any people in the least bit suggestive of godforsakenness.

It was far more than an annual ignorance on Holy Saturday; it was religiously fueled, weekly arrogance. Not only was the Good Friday crucifixion bridged to the Easter resurrection by this day furious with energy and lucrative with reward, but all the gospel truths were likewise set as either introductions or conclusions to the human action that displayed our prowess and our virtue every week of the year. God was background to our business. Every gospel truth was maintained intact and all the human energy was wholly admirable, but the rhythms were all wrong, the proportions wildly skewed. Desolation””and with it companionship with the desolate, from first-century Semites to twentieth-century Indians””was all but wiped from consciousness.
But there came a point at which I was convinced that it was critically important to pay more attention to what God does than what I do; to find daily, weekly, yearly rhythms that would get that awareness into my bones. Holy Saturday for a start. And then, times to visit people in despair, and learn their names, and wait for resurrection.

Embedded in my memory now is this most poignant irony: those seven or eight Indians, with the Thunderbird empties lying around, drunk in the alley behind the Pastime Baron Saturday afternoon, while we Scandinavian Christians worked diligently late into the night, oblivious to the holiness of the day. The Indians were in despair, religious despair, something very much like the Holy Saturday despair narrated in the Gospels. Their way of life had come to nothing, the only buffalo left to them engraved on nickels, a couple of which one of their squaws had paid out that morning for four bony ham hocks. The early sacredness of their lives was a wasteland; and they, godforsaken as they supposed, drugged their despair with Thunderbird and buried their dead visions and dreams in the alley behind the Pastime, ignorant of the God at work beneath their emptiness.

Take the time to read it all.

Posted in Christology, Eschatology, Holy Week

Jesus Christ was Buried

“By the grace of God” Jesus tasted death “for every one”. In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only “die for our sins” but should also “taste death”, experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. The state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb, reveals God’s great sabbath rest after the fulfillment of man’s salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe.

–The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, para. 624

Posted in Christology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ecclesiology, Holy Week, Theology

“Though God is not there for him to see or hear, he calls on him still”

“MY GOD, MY GOD, why hast thou forsaken me?” As Christ speaks those words, he too is in the wilderness. He speaks them when all is lost. He speaks them when there is nothing even he can hear except for the croak of his own voice and when as far as even he can see there is no God to hear him. And in a way his words are a love song, the greatest love song of them all. In a way his words are the words we all of us must speak before we know what it means to love God as we are commanded to love him.

“My God, my God.” Though God is not there for him to see or hear, he calls on him still because he can do no other. Not even the cross, not even death, not even life, can destroy his love for God. Not even God can destroy his love for God because the love he loves God with is God’s love empowering him to love in return with all his heart even when his heart is all but broken.

–Frederick Buechner A Room Called Remember (HarperOne:New York, 1992 paperback ed. of 1984 original), Chapter 4

Posted in Christology, Holy Week

Jürgen Moltmann for Good Friday

“When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters into the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man’s godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father. God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings. God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law. God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.”

–Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology (minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), p, 414

Posted in Christology, Holy Week

We need “more emphasis on the blood of Christ, as well as the brutal method of his death”

Isn’t it curious that the Son of God would die in this particular way? Even Paul was permitted a nice, neat slice of the sword. Why did the Son of God die in the worst possible way? That’s the point here. Crucifixion was specifically designed to be the worst of the worst. It was so bad, good Roman citizens didn’t discuss it in public. It’s very much like the way we avoid talking about death and sin. The Romans avoided talking about crucifixion because it was so horrible, so disgusting, so obscene they used that word to describe it.

Why this method and not another? Because it corresponds to the depth of depravity caused by human rebellion against God. It shows us just how bad things really are with us. No wonder we don’t want to look at it. Yet again, the African American church has never been afraid to look at it. It gives them hope. It gives them strength. It gives them comfort. As for the blood: It is important because it’s mentioned so much in Scripture. It’s a synecdoche, a word that stands for the whole thing. When you say “the blood of Christ,” you mean his self-offering, his death, the horror of it, the pouring out of it. It sums up the whole thing.

And it’s not just a metaphor; he really did shed blood when he was scourged. He was a bloody mess. I remember one line from an article by a secular journalist. Concerning the crucifixion of Jesus, he wrote, “He must have been ghastly to behold.” That’s a great sentence.

Fleming Rutledge in a Christianity Today interview (emphasis mine)

Posted in Christology, Holy Week

Alone Thou goest forth for Good Friday

Alone thou goest forth, O Lord, in sacrifice to die;
is this thy sorrow nought to us who pass unheeding by?

Our sins, not thine, thou bearest, Lord; make us thy sorrow feel,
till through our pity and our shame love answers love’s appeal.

This is earth’s darkest hour, but thou dost light and life restore;
then let all praise be given thee who livest evermore.

Grant us with thee to suffer pain that, as we share this hour,
thy cross may bring us to thy joy and resurrection power [The Hymnal 1982 #164].

Posted in Christology, Church History, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Kendall Harmon’s 2022 Palm Sunday sermon

There is also still more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Holy Week, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology

(Eleanor Parker) An Anglo-Saxon sermon for Palm Sunday

The master of the asses asked them why they untied his asses, and in the same way the chief men of every people perversely opposed the preaching of God. But when they saw that the preachers, through God’s power, healed the lame and the blind, and gave speech to the dumb, and raised the dead to life, then they could not withstand those miracles, but all at last turned to God. Christ’s disciples said, “The Lord needs the asses, and sends for them.” They did not say ‘our Lord’, or ‘your Lord’, but simply, ‘the Lord’; for Christ is Lord of all lords, both of men and of all creatures. They said, “He sends for them.” We are exhorted and invited to God’s kingdom, but we are not forced. When we are invited, we are untied; and when we are left to our own choice, then is it as though we are sent for. It is God’s mercy that we are untied; but if we live rightly, that will be both God’s grace and our own zeal. We should constantly pray for the Lord’s help, since our own choices have no success unless they are supported by the Almighty.

Christ did not command them to lead to him a proud steed adorned with golden trappings; instead he chose a poor ass to bear him, because he always taught humility, and gave the example himself, saying “Learn from me, for I am meek and very humble, and you shall find rest for your souls.” This was prophesied of Christ, and so were all the things which he did before he was born as man…

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Church History, Holy Week, Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The powerful woman with no lines and no name (Luke 7:36-50)



Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What can we Learn from the story of Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10)?

Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Russell Moore–Ash Wednesday in a Time of War

The church prays with Ukraine because their cause is just and because they, like we, are vulnerable and imperiled, and they know it.

Ash Wednesday is about remembering that we will die, and that’s important. We are told to “number our days” (Ps. 90:12) and to remember that life is a vapor soon to vanish (James 4:14).

But it is also about how we died. Joined to Christ, we have died with him—in the most humiliating and shameful way possible. The way to glory is not the way of Rome, of Russia, or of our own desire to exalt or protect ourselves. The way to glory is the way of the cross.

In wartime, dictators should remember that, win or lose, they will die and that there will be no invading or conquering the kingdom of God. At Ash Wednesday—and all year round—we should remember this too.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Eschatology, Lent, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What can we Learn from the Feeding of the 5000 (Luke 9:10-17)?

Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What does the Baptism of Jesus Teach us about our Identity (Luke 3:15-21)

Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Epiphany awakens the question in the hearts of all people–who is this Jesus?

Dear friends, this is the question that the Church wishes to awaken in the hearts of all men: who is Jesus? This is the spiritual longing that drives the mission of the Church: to make Jesus known, his Gospel, so that every man can discover in his human face the face of God, and be illumined by his mystery of love. Epiphany pre-announces the universal opening of the Church, her call to evangelize all peoples. But Epiphany also tells us in what way the Church carries out this mission: reflecting the light of Christ and proclaiming his Word. Christians are called to imitate the service that the star gave the Magi. We must shine as children of the light, to attract all to the beauty of the Kingdom of god. And to all those who seek truth, we must offer the Word of God, which leads to recognizing in Jesus “the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

Benedict XVI.

Posted in Christology, Epiphany, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s 2021 Christmas sermon–Three Central Questions for Christmas

Listen to it all or there is more there if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christmas, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

Flannery O’Connor on the idea of the Need for Redemption being Squashed

My own feeling is that writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eyes for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. In some cases, these writers may be unconsciously infected with the Manichaean spirit of the times and suffer the much-discussed disjunction between sensibility and belief, but I think that more often the reason for this attention to the perverse is the difference between their beliefs and the beliefs of their audience. Redemption is meaningless unless there is case for it in the actual life we live, and for the last few centuries there has been operating in our culture the secular belief that there is no such cause.

The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural; and he may well be forced to take ever more violent means to get his vision across to this hostile audience. When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs as you do, you can relax a little and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock, to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind, you draw large and startling figures.

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969) pp. 33-34 [my emphasis]

Posted in Anthropology, Christmas, Christology, Church History, Poetry & Literature, Soteriology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Name

O almighty God, who hast given unto thy Son Jesus Christ the name which is above every name, and hast taught us that there is none other whereby we may be saved: Mercifully grant that as thy faithful people have comfort and peace in his name, so they may ever labour to publish it unto all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Scottish Prayer Book

Posted in Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Language, Spirituality/Prayer