Monday, April 30, 2007

The Way - some thoughts on the Feast of SS. Philip & James, Apostles

The Christian faith is a journey, which has a beginning and an ending. On that journey there are many people walking the same Way, and even though each encounters his own difficulties and joys, we do not walk alone. We are not on a journey to a place we-know-not-where, but we walk together, to a place prepared for us, a place which we already think of as Home.

The Bible is full of stories of travel: Abraham, Isaace, Jacob, Joseph...Moses...they all journeyed in and around their Promised Land. Israel journeyed out of Egypt. The Jews journeyed into exile, and some of them returned. [The Prodigal Son journeyed into a far country, and spent his inheritance in "riotous living".] Our Lord journeyed from Galilee to Jerusalem, to his death and resurrection.

Christians are on a journey of the spirit, the end of which is to be with God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We desire to enjoy and to worship the Most Holy Trinity, one God, forever. The Way for Christians is not a road or a step-by-step program. Rather, for us the Way is equivalent to a Person, as when Christ proclaimed, "I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

"I go to prepare a place for you."

Christ is The Way, and Christians who are joined to his body (the Church) in Holy Baptism enter into and upon this Way, the end of which leads to God. We hope to go where he has already gone, and to enter at length into the "mansions" that he has prepared for us.

Along the way we also have the benefit of walking along in the shadow of better and stronger fellow-travelers, the saints. We walk the same Way in the same doctrine and fellowship, following their example, and placing our small feet in the footprints left by them in the shifting sands of time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

During Passiontide, the two weeks leading up to Easter, the passion (suffering) of our Lord is juxtaposed with our exultation in his victory over death.

At the Parish Church today we express our sorrow for the terrible things our Lord had to endure at the hands of evil men. The interior of the Church is stripped bare of all its beautiful furnishings, and the altar and altar cross are covered with black veils.
Yet, this cloud has a silver lining. Even during the sorrow of Good Friday we are mindful of the "rest of the story". Peeking around the corner of the sacristy door this morning, I noticed one of our Easter flower arrangements, beautifully arranged by M., waiting be put out on Easter Even. And as I happened through the Parish Hall downstairs, I was greeted by the heady scent of Easter Lilies, also waiting to be put around the altar.

Another Good Friday blessing appeared in one of our flower beds at Church today: those who attended Morning Prayer noticied that the tulip bulbs that N. buried in the ground last fall, have sprung forth in gorgeous, blood-red flower.