Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday in Pentecost, Proper 10: The invincible holiness of the Church

Opening Sentence
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. Habakkuk 2:20

Commemoration: Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer
O God, whose Spirit guides us into all truth and makes us free: Strengthen and sustain us as you did your servants Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, and Harriet. Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 31

Lessons: Joshua 4:19-5:1, 10-15Romans 12:9-21Matthew 26:17-25

The sickness suffered by the Church is in all of us. If we realize sincerely that we belong to the sick part of the church community, we need not be afraid to admit the actual fact of sickness, as the Fathers of the Church were not afraid to do. Somehow, only then are we capable to feel, in the joy of our heart, the invincible holiness of the Church.

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom says, "The Church has a glorious aspect and a tragic one. Each one of us bears the aspect of the Church's infirmity. We are within the Church and yet we are on the way of it."

A church service was ending in a suburban Moscow church. Everything seemed quite normal, the priest gave the final blessing. Then he stepped out of the sanctuary and began taking off his vestments. Suddenly there was dead silence and only his voice was heard. "For twenty years I have deceived you. Now I take off this attire!" People moved, some shouted, some cried. Everyone was upset, indignant. "Why then did he serve, even today?"

It is difficult to say how it would have ended, but suddenly a very young man stepped forward and said, "Why are we all so excited? Wasn't it always like this? Don't you remember Judas at the Last Supper?" Somehow these words reminded people that in the long history of the Church there had always existed its dark shadow, its "double," and somehow this helped us to understand and accept what took place. Judas had taken part in the Last Supper and this did not destroy the holiness of the Sacrament.

Yes, this is a kind of explication, but it does not take away the sorrow and the fear.

This took place in the twenties.

Sergei Fudel
Light in the Darkness

All to Jesus I Surrender