Supper and Salvation

Bread of the world in mercy broken,

Wine of the soul in mercy shed,

By whom the words of life were spoken,

And in whose death our sins are dead;

Look on the heart by sorrow broken,

Look on the tears by sinners shed;

And be Thy feast to us the token

That by Thy grace our souls are fed.  (Reginald Heber)

 

The Eucharist stands as a bulwark against reducing our participation in salvation to the exercise of devotional practices before God or being recruited to run errands for God.  It is hard to get through our heads, but the fact is that we are not in charge of salvation and we can add nothing to it.

Continue reading “Supper and Salvation”

Fashionable Justice Murders Embarrassing Truth

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I have recently started to enjoy reading more of Malcolm Muggeridge, a former journalist with a truly remarkable way with words.  And I say truly quite deliberately, because I would like to share what he says about truth.  

In his book, the first part of his biography called Chronicles of Wasted Time – The Green Stick, he is writing about the illogicality and banality of seeing this world as the destination of humanity, which, I suppose is what many people do, especially those influenced by the rise of the new-atheism (which isn’t new at all)!  He says the Christian idea of ‘he that loves his life in this world shall lose it, and he that hates his life in this world shall see it projected out and glorified into eternity, is for living not for dying.’ Continue reading “Fashionable Justice Murders Embarrassing Truth”

The Crookedness of Sin

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The problem with sin is that sinners like me can’t really grasp the gravity of the situation because I/we are sinners.  How can someone crooked tell someone else to be less crooked?

I’m not talking about sin as what we do (don’t murder, don’t lie, don’t do this that or the other), I’m talking about sin are what we are, the fancy word for what we are is our ‘ontology’ – the heart of our very being, and not mere out-workings of it.  That’s why it’s not really about our doing sin, but our being sinful.  We need inner change not outward rule-keeping.

That’s why the human race needs Jesus, because only Jesus can change our ontological nature: be born-again; be transformed; be renewed.  Only Jesus.

To my shame and utter ruin, I haven’t mentioned Karl Barth on this blog yet.  I will amend my ways immediately with a quote on what this magnificent theologian says about crookedness and sin.

“Men (er, and women as well Karl), preoccupied with themselves have no eyes to see this (sin) or categories to grasp it…… Access to the knowledge that he is a sinner is lacking to man because he is a sinner….

….This is revealed in the fact that he does not see beyond the natural inward contradiction of his existence, in face of which he is capable of remorse and pity and melancholy, or even rueful irony, but not of genuine terror, in face of which he can always quieten and excuse himself, remaining obstinately blind and deaf to the contradiction which is his guilt and the breach which is his need.

He sees and thinks and knows crookedly even in relation to his crookedness.”  (Church Dogmatics IV, p.360-3610)

Thank you Karl Barth.  He has shown us the deep, deep need for Jesus, and it is only on the Cross that our deep, deep need is met and and overcome by the deep, deep love of Jesus.

Muggeridge on Suffering

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“Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the same time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction.  Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained.

In other words, if it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by means of some drug or other medical mumbo jumbo . . . the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable.  This, of course, is what the Cross signifies.  And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ.”

Malcolm Muggeridge

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