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Archive for August, 2009

Amena Brown

I like this.

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56805168I’ve been an Anglican for nearly 10 years now. When I consider this past decade and what most marks it differently than the decade before must be how important liturgical and sacramental worship have become for me. The trustworthiness of liturgy, its depth, and expression of biblical truth has become definitive for me in how I think of Christian worship. The sacraments have expanded by view of God’s grace and his Providence – his activity now.

So I was reading a post over on Fr. Stephen Freeman’s blog today entitled “How Simple Should Christianity Be?” It’s a defense of the complexity of the liturgical path in the Orthodox Church. While it is unfortunate that Fr. Stephen belittles Cranmer’s work in the BCP, his point is a good one. Why must worship of the Triune God be simple?

After I read the post, I reviewed some of the comments, this one caught my eye:

Reading and contemplating the posts here I can say that the Christian faith is radically simple while the consequences of that faith are almost infinitely complex. Once a person opens his/her heart to God and the person of Jesus Christ–everything changes. It is a monumental and ultimately futile task to describe the nature and extent of those changes and the effects of faith.

I wholeheartedly agree. The externals aside, what a ridiculous assertion it would be if someone said that our personal transformation was simple. As the years go by, I’m more and more astounded by the ongoing healing Christ has worked into my life and the way his presence permeates everything. If the internal is so gloriously complex why should my external expressions of worshiping him be simple?

I don’t think that means we go out to find the most complex and complicated tradition. More liturgical moving parts does not equal more authentic worship – this definition seems too simplistic. As I think about my experience as a follower of Christ who worships in the Anglican tradition, it is the ambiguity of things that offers depth. For example, when I join in the Eucharistic liturgy, particularly the Sanctus, I am rooted in time and space – truth be told, most Sundays I’m in an elementary school gym. But in that setting, properly ordered, I’m also lifted into the heavenly realm to join the worship service that is always being held around the throne of the Holy, Holy, Holy. Another example…. When I hold the body of Christ in my hands, he really is there, but it also indicates that I (mind, soul, and body) really am in Christ’s hands.

The poster who started me thinking closed his comments with these words:

We ought not to trouble one another or be confused by one another, or envy one another but rejoice in one another. It is after all the transformation by the grace of God that we both seek, the forgiveness of sin and the healing of our souls and the life in the Kingdom together.

Amen.

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augustineI subscribe to americancatholic.org’s Catholic Saint of the Day. Today’s saint is St. Augustine (354 – 430).

What a great quote:
“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you—things which, if they were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors and I drew in breath—and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” (St. Augustine, Confessions).

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Despite having a profound influence on the 20th century, English author G.K. Chesterton has remained virtually unknown to modern readers. This discrepancy may be due to an unwillingness for universities and colleges to include him in literary and history curriculum. Click here to read more.

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