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A THANKFUL SAINT PAUL WROTE “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything” – 2 Corinthians 5.20b-6.10
Aye! And may it be so of children, women and men of goodwill everywhere – at the outset of the Church’s season of preparation for the Resurrection Days (to which all persons, within and without the Church, are invited) – the New Life Days, the New Love Days – the “more excellent ways”, everywhere, for everyone, every day …
Equally Anointed with the gift of Life by the Giver of all things – we’re all “the Body of Christ” – the “Christos” – the one anointed by the same gift of life’s breath as we are.
What a blessing (a “thankful happiness”) that “Christening” seen in this light is a gift God has already extended to every living soul on earth and in heaven. And the more we see something of Christ-ness – of an equal-anointed-ness – in all people, everywhere, the more clearly our sight of Heaven takes shape before our not very long ago blinded eyes …
THIS is Gospel! This is “good news” – well worth spending 40 days (or all eternity) “in the wilderness” (dictionary definitions speak of “wilderness” as “places as yet unspoiled by the interference of men”) – to reflect upon.
“… as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything”
Reflecting upon some of the religious debacles of the last weeks and months and years and centuries, my belief that the Church is not at liberty to withhold “prayer” or “blessing” from anyone, anywhere, has become an increasingly deep source of comfort to me. Human persons are called equally to celebrate and to announce, to sacra-ment or “give holy thought to” something / some One that’s already there …
It’s God the ever generous giver who has blessed and continues to bless – and, being God, is able, and has always been able, to bypass the services of mere religious representatives. It’s God who is able to bless, to inspire (breathe in and out of), to anoint and to raise up the very stuff of redemption in places unspoiled by mere mortal interference. And so may God be praised in the love and the laughter, the liturgies and the languages of the whole earth’s anointed peoples …
What is the work of any “redeemer” if not to call all people, everywhere, home to our senses – to open our blind eyes and our deaf ears; to loosen-up our tight fists and our stubborn hearts? What the work of the Holy Spirit of God, the Friend, the Counsellor, if not gently to open our eyes to our own bumptiousness, drawing out first embarrassed laughter and then full-bellied amusement, helping us to see the ridiculousness of our self-righteous pomposity and turn (repent) to quiet acknowledgement that “I have spoken words that I did not understand, and now I repent in dust and ashes” – Job 42.6
Blow the trumpet in Zion! sound the alarm on my holy mountain! - Joel 2.1 - and may the wilderness experience, which long ago formed Jesus of Nazareth, be proper “ministerial formation” for one and for all. So may this world’s peoples become eucharistic peoples – thankful, co-creating peoples, headed, homeward-bound, to Immortal Love, to the very Source of ruach in ‘adamah - humankind’s breath … to the Bread – the lehem, the understanding, the “holy communion” - of Life.
See a really helpful piece for Ash Wednesday / Lent from Bishop David Walker of Manchester here – http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006479.html