Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday after Ash Wednesday: Only Christian faith is big enough

Opening Sentence
Their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:4

Commemoration: Matthias
Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 95, 31

Lessons: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Philippians 4:1-9; John 17:9-19

A man in a novel I rad some time ago said that he dreaded more than anything else long dark hours of insomnia when the fears of life clustered around him. I could understand what he was saying even when I have not experienced insomnia very often. Who among us does not wake up and see all the frightening things that can happen to us and be convinced that they will happen to us? If there is some way that sleep can find us and that our faith can bring us quietness and assurance, that would be good news indeed. Jesus is saying the for his followers as they get older and see all kinds of probable disaster, they can be at ease.

My barber made a comment the other day that I will not soon forget. As I was getting my hair cut, he talked about the astronauts going around the moon. "Wasn't that great?" he asked. And I said, "It sure was." "And wasn't that wonderful when they read from the Book of Genesis as they circled the moon?" I said I did not hear it but I read about it and it, and it was tremendous. Then he said, "You know, Bishop, that was the only book that was big enough for men doing what they were doing and being where they were to read from." What a fine insight that was! So much of the modern attempts to heal our worries are like rubbing a little salve on a cancer. It is only Christian faith that is big enough to bring the healing for men caught up in the troubles of human existence.

Alfred Noyes wrote and autobiography in which he talked about his boyhood and his youth. He said, "If ever I had any doubts about the fundamental realities of religion, they could always be dispelled by one memory -- the light upon my father's face as he came back from early communion." I suspect that the finest and deepest witness to the power and reality of religion is the untroubled heart of the Christians we have known. And some of us know it ourselves.

Gerald Kennedy

How Deep the Father's Love for Us