Comments: Entry to Jerusalem

Don't get it - lots of wheels going round doing no more than sliding on the track. For example, what does this mean: "he showed us once and for all how to die that we might live in eternity"? So what does this say about how I should die differently than I would have in order to pick up this state of eternity?

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 14 April 2014 at 1:13am BST

Sir,

Excuse my lacuna in scholarly exegesis, but how do we know "Plenty of those who shouted ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ later shouted, ‘Crucify' " ?

Posted by lowereastnyc at Monday, 14 April 2014 at 5:45am BST

"they left their homes and crossed the seas to carry the Gospel to unknown lands. They called this a ‘white’ as opposed to a ‘red’ martyrdom. We are invited to be white martyrs this Holy Week."

A very little bit of white martyrdom in Devizes this week. Our procession from St Mary's to St John's church with a Donkey and a colt, choir, congregation and lots of palms and branches. A group of weekend visitors to the town saw the spectacle and joined the parade with us, coming into church for the long Passion Gospel and the rest of the Palm Sunday Eucharist.

Posted by paul richardson at Monday, 14 April 2014 at 9:42am BST

I think this is a good - though not brilliant - sermon, but one that is well worth sharing and has given me pause for thought this Holy Week. But more than that I am glad to see it up on thinkinganglicans because in recent months and years I have come to feel that the articles and links posted on the website (and even more the comments then proferred) seem to be totally dominated by issues of gender and sexuality. I have been seriously wondering if 'thinking anglicans' should change its name to 'sexmad anglicans'. So it feels refreshing on occasion to read something in which neither gender or sexuality are mentioned. Please can we have more features like this. I care about issues of justice in relation to gender and sexuality too, but perhaps because I have worked for the church outside the western world through much of my life (indeed I could be said to do that now) I feel that the preoccupations on this website have become so insular that they make me ashamed to self identify as Anglican.

Posted by Clare at Tuesday, 15 April 2014 at 12:23pm BST

I like the sermon too. Good but not brilliant is about right.

Clare, discussions that you see as "sexmad" I see as being about JUSTICE. Also, they are about the theology of who is created in the Image of God. If not all, then who gets to decide?

When the ABC makes a provocative remark, such as a massacre in Africa was caused by gay friendly churches in America, there's going to be a response, especially when no human rights organization corroborates the remark. Thus, the questions of why this was said, who's agenda does it support, is the Anglican Communion going to split over it, will the West appease the supposed murders, etc.? These are significant questions. In fact, it seems to be the justice issue of our day, as women and race have been.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 15 April 2014 at 7:36pm BST

Thank you for these thoughts, Stephen.

I think growing into the whole of who God knew us and intended us to be and become, involves a "letting go to love", a dying to self, and a giving and sharing of ourselves. Easier said than done.

"I have a baptism to undergo," Jesus said, by which he meant his death and resurrection.

This baptism, symbolised in the only sign He promised, the sign of Jonah, involves death to self, and being raised and restored to new life.

But it is a restoration that is daily, not just when we physically die.

"If anyone would follow me, they must take up their cross daily."

The baptism Jesus invited his disciples to share was the daily death to self, and opening up to the resurrection reality of divine love.

"Unless a grain of the seed is buried in the earth, and dies..."

This baptismal imagery recurs again and again as a deep symbolic archetype in the Bible: Noah, 'buried' in an ark on the vast ocean, then restored to a new world, a new beginning.

The Israelites, descending into the jaws of death as the waters parted, then rising up the other side, bound for a new country.

The men in the fiery furnace, put down there to perish, and restored to life. Joseph abandoned in the pit, to rise and become the agent of new futures. Daniel 'buried' in the lions' den, and returning to life.

Jonah, already mentioned. 'Burials' in exile, whether Babylon, or Naomi in Moab, and restoration.

"Behold! I make all things new!"

The symbolism of baptism in the Jordon. The significance of being born again. The experience of baptism in the Spirit.

And our lived experiences, in the lives we are called to, to let go and love, and serve, albeit fallibly.

Martyrdom in this sense is the very nature of givenness and sharing and engaging in love, exemplified in the eternal sharing and givenness of the Trinity, in the sacrificial and given nature of God, in God's devotion of self, in the given life of Jesus, and the Cross, and burial, and resurrection.

The Way of the Cross, of this daily baptism, is the Way of martyrdom. But it is also the journey, daily, into eternal life and spiritual reality, and the whole of who we are, astonishingly, loved and called to be.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Wednesday, 16 April 2014 at 1:24pm BST

I hope such technicalities don't get in the way of the Eastertide spirit, but there's a technical question about Gnosticism I've been waiting for an opportunity to ask for a while, and I know there are some people on here who are well-informed when it comes to early church history...

Gnosticism seems to differ from the Christianity in which we (or at least, most of us on this forum) believe, in that Gnostics hold the following four beliefs ("heresies", one might say if that word hadn't somehow become a compliment in the past couple of decades):

- that Christ's death on the cross did not really take place, and was some sort of illusion, as described in the original article above;
- that Christ was not fully human, again as described above;
- that the afterlife is a disembodied, purely-spiritual affair, not a resurrection of the body; and
- that admission to heaven is dependent on the possession of some kind of secret knowledge.

(Incidentally, there may be some mileage in rehearsing here the reasons why we believe those four statements are untrue - Bishop Stephen very successfully argues that two of them are "immoral", but that's not the same as being untrue. However, that's not the question I wanted to ask.)

My question was - do those four beliefs/heresies have individual names, or are they always referred to en bloc as "Gnosticism"?

Posted by Feria at Monday, 21 April 2014 at 4:21pm BST
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