on Sunday, 8 April 2007 at 1.50 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of England
Archbishop of Canterbury: human failure is overcome by God’s love
Archbishop of York: Victory and Peace of the Resurrection
No penal substitution from Canterbury Cathedral, then.
I can go along with what Rowan Williams says here (I suppose there are some forerunner conditions leading up to this, but this seems sensible):
_So: if we can accept the unwelcome picture of us and our world that Good Friday offers, we are, in the strangest way, set free to hear what Easter says._
I wouldn’t put Easter like the Archbishop of York has (I prefer it the way I heard locally, I have to say: publish it!). Having said that, his reference to Russia is interesting. My wife is a child of the Communist Soviet system, and she thought nothing of that leadership (she wriggled out of all requests to join in) nor the Orthodox hierarchy, nor how Communists overnight became Orthodox. She does not know that she is an atheist, and like a friend says if there is a God then there is one for everybody, but “like(s) to talk to Father… Read more »
Meanwhile, let’s hear it for the local church (and I include in every place): in the one I attend, a dawn intimacy and themes and a sense of breaking anew, a main eucharist sermon second to none in presentation and content, and in the evening (as in the morning too) a standard of music hitting the heights with direction, singing and organ playing. It is not everwhere or every time that some people actually return to the seats to hear the end organ piece of the service (I didn’t actually leave) and then clap. All of this, through the liturgical… Read more »
Pluralist (to whom I did not get chance to speak at Festal Evensong) said:
I wouldn’t put Easter like the Archbishop of York has (I prefer it the way I heard locally, I have to say: publish it!).
to which I reply
Flattery will get you everywhere…..
…or following on, as Dalton might have said, “eight-thirds, pi r cubed”
isn’t the problem that most of us believe we have heard, understood and dealt with, the unwelcome picture of ourselves that Good Friday offers, and that we have heard the Easter message, each in our own self satisfied way?
It’s easy to agree with what Rowan said, in a generally vague “I’ve repented so I’m saved” sort of way.
Sadly, it often only confirms our own good opinion of oursevles and makes us even less tolerant of others.
Oh, but the Archbishop of York’s sermon is wonderful! It spoke directly to my heart. The fact that he would have excluded me from what he meant only shows how perfectly the Spirit speaks through those who are willing to hear, and how much She exceeds those She speaks through.
There’s hope for the Christian faith yet!
He is risen indeed, Alleluja.
To me, this is the most important part of Rowan’s sermon:
“Give up the struggle to be innocent and the hope that God will proclaim that you were right and everyone else wrong. Simply ask for whatever healing it is that you need, whatever grace and hope you need to be free, then step towards your neighbour;”
If we all had a bit more of that – would this Anglican Communion really feel the urge to split?
ABC wrote “Give up the struggle to be innocent and the hope that God will proclaim that you were right and everyone else wrong. Simply ask for whatever healing it is that you need, whatever grace and hope you need to be free, then step towards your neighbour;..” Sentamu’s speech synergises with ABC’s speech. Sentamu talks about three kinds of encounters with Jesus. I would like to add a fourth: those who are in denial of their complicity. There is a passage from a Jewel song “Hands” which says “that to be forgiven we must first believed we sinned”. Jesus… Read more »
OK, mynster – sounds like you’ll have to post your sermon somewhere and give us all the link?
The Archbishop of York seems to have given a powerful sermon – I found it a pleasure to read, and would have loved to have heard it.
Is there not a subtle way in which Archbishop Rowan exempts his own words and actions from the criticism he makes of others, those who write their own story in such a way that the voice of the other can’t be heard. Does he not see that his own view of how the communion should work is just one of many contestable positions on the ground, no more innocent or natural than any of the others, and no more justified. It seems to me that the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in rejecting the pastoral scheme can ground… Read more »
There is indeed a danger, Erika Baker, of being complacent: however, there is always a time (once everything has been considered) to stop beating your own back and move on. I suppose I see things in terms of a problem of difficulty that is really dark and ultimately comes down to your own encounter with things, even when other people are involved and driving you nuts. It is then that you look for chinks of light and you hope they will be there. Often when in the light you don’t even realise it, and should. Hope I haven’t caused a… Read more »
Pluralist, I suppose having read the sermon as part of reading through a week’s worth of TA postings has clouded my way of understanding it. I’m just so tired of being told that God’s love is dependent on me constantly changing everything important about myself. There are too many people who claim Easter Sunday for themselves but who will keep me at Good Friday until I repent of what they believe their tyrannical God hates. And all I see in those people is self satisfied complacency and a frightening lack of compassion. I’m not sure that I agree that there… Read more »
Erika I can relate to your posting. I have respected friends who moved on from church fellowship because they could not be “good enough” for the “in crowd” nor were they prepared to turn their backs on beloved friends and family who were GLBTs. The irony is that my observation of those who left the church because they were inadequate and unprepared to turn their backs on beloveds are more able to recognise and respond to God in the small daily miracles that make up life. A tree that grows despite a drought, a child that smiles after losing a… Read more »
Anyone else spot +Rochester’s comments? According to today’s Guardian he seems to feel the Iranian government (yes, sponsors of the Holocaust denial conference, etc etc) are more moral than HMG. Presumably because whereas holocaust denial’s merely a matter of opinion, being in favour of the SOR’s anti-discriminatory legislation puts one outside the moral fold?
pluralist: I’ll email you a copy, you can then do what you like with it! But I don’t think it’s very original or any great shakes, to be honest, just a jobbing parish priest’s ramble, no more.
When the service and sacrifice is for the other, they cannot be abandoned for as long as possible – and may just have to stay with them. It may be that the window of a new view ahead stays blocked and unseen, except for clues of light ahead coming around corners and in shifting shadows. I was commenting on matters happening to your own self, so not beating your own back continuously. Sometimes things happen to you personally by people you once trusted, and this can keep you stuck. Then you need to look for new strategies and ways forward… Read more »
Four-thirds, pi r cubed, David, Elena tells me. So were you talking about John Dalton with his atomic theory, or Hugh Dalton, brief post war Chancellor?
Pluralist, I agree with you. If you look at Good Friday and Easter Sunday with reference to your own life, there is true potential for growth and freedom. The problem arises when, as is often the case, Christians look at it with reference to the lives of others and then use their superior saved status as a tool to clobber those they consider to be still failing. Richard Harris in his article on ++ Rowan (one thread above) points out that “One of the threads running through his writing is the idea that true religion always leads one to question… Read more »
Rowan Williams says: “And in relationships between persons or groups more or less equal and grown-up, going forward requires us all to learn a measure of openness to discovering things about ourselves we did not know, seeing ourselves through the eyes of another. What they see may be fair or unfair, but it is a reality that has been driving someone’s reactions and decisions. We’d better listen, hateful and humiliating though it may be for some of us.” Reading between the lines, he might as well be referring to the current difficulties in the AC. Is he hinting at a… Read more »
“No penal substitution from Canterbury Cathedral, then.” Pluralist – quite the opposite! ++Rowan: “Now what the events of Good Friday and Easter tell us is that every single human being is implicated in something profoundly wrong. We say, rather glibly, that Jesus died for our sins, that he died to save humankind… There is only one innocent character in that drama and it isn’t me or you… He is there on the cross because we are the way we are.” Compare with J.I. Packer (Celebrating the Saving Work of God): “Jesus Christ our Lord, moved by a love that was… Read more »
“One of the threads running through his writing is the idea that true religion always leads one to question oneself, rather than make claims over others. Jesus is not a possession or a badge of superiority, but the one before whom you stand, in gentle self-questioning.”
But religion also gives one the confidence that Paul calls parrhesia, the confidence that Luther had — the confidence to confront the world in the name of Christ and at the prompting of the Spirit. This is more central to Christianity than self-questioning.
Jesus is innocent, yes, but he becomes sin for us — Paul says that, or something like it — and Barth has a lot about it too. I think it is odd that people want to wash the sin off the Paschal Lamb!
“But religion also gives one the confidence that Paul calls parrhesia, the confidence that Luther had — the confidence to confront the world in the name of Christ and at the prompting of the Spirit. This is more central to Christianity than self-questioning”.
Absolutely. But it has to go hand in hand with continuous self examination and a constant willingness to be challenged and to change. Otherwise it ends in self satisfied lecturing and condemnation of those who hold different views. The key ingredient should be a measure of humility.
David (mynsterpreost) Yes, I did note the Bishop’s comments and have posted elsewhere. The difficulty with prophecy is that God does not always chooose perfect vessels (the latter is the exception rather than the rule). A good rule of thumb is that if God has raised up one of your enemies as a prophet, where do you need to get your house in order. That is where the Muslim courtesy to all prophets kicks in. Sometimes your enemies have an uncomfortable home truth to tell you. If you listen meekly and take on the lesson, you can advert a bigger… Read more »
eight thirds pi r cubed = two spheres:-)
Oh, I’m no good at science. atom – smallest piece of an element that keeps its chemical properties, molecule – smallest piece of a compound that keeps its chemical properties (made of two or more atoms). Why *two* spheres? (Doesn’t alter the good sermon – one ball was held up, thus not my confusion but the scientist alongside me who said, reading the posting, “Something is wrong.”) Rowan Williams talks about a drama and “He is there on the cross because we are the way we are.” But he does not say what happens, or in what way. I think… Read more »
Final point on this (from me): having attended Wednesday morning I now understand “eight-thirds, pi r cubed”. It is not mathematical talk, nevermind scientific talk. It is a form of theological talk.
Other theological alternatives are: “Shoe menders”, “Son of Odin and Frigg punctuation”, or “papal document waste”.
Those of us who do theology should be aware of such obscurities. I don’t know how it got past me.
“Son of Odin and Frigg punctuation”
took me a few moments to solve – but I like it!
‘…Rowan Williams talks about a drama and “He is there on the cross because we are the way we are.”….’ Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 10 April 2007 at 7:16pm BST “He is there on the cross ” What does this mean ? Easter never ‘happened’ ? I know preachers often speak like this, and that is a poetic metaphor,- flight of the pious imagination. But even seen as a literary or rhetorical device, what does it, in fact, mean? I genuinely think it is a problematic convention to employ; and that preachers seem not to understand this. Where does… Read more »
Yes – he is there on the cross because the Romans put him there. Sometimes theologising does take liberties. That’s what I mean, there is a nod to penal substitution, but it stops half way (and does include emotional manipulation). When I did my service, I wrote: ____Jesus is mocked, beaten, and spat upon, his back torn with scourges, his head in pain from those thorns made like a crown. The heavy cross is laid on his shoulders and causes more pain. He must carry the means of his own execution, the weight of the cross symbolising the weight of… Read more »