Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday in Pentecost, Proper 11: The completeness of the victory

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

Commemoration: William Reed Huntington
O Lord our God, we thank you for instilling in the heart of your servant William Reed Huntington a fervent love for your Church and its mission in the world; and we pray that, with unflagging faith in your promises, we may make known to all peoples your blessed gift of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 51

Lessons: Joshua 9:22-10:15Romans 15:14-24Matthew 27:1-10

It is out of that uttermost gloom (of "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?") that the light breaks. The light does not merely shine upon the gloom and so dispel it; it is the gloom itself transformed into light. For that some crucifixion of the Lord which has, and for ever is, the utmost effort of evil, is itself the means by which God conquers evil and unites us to himself in the redeeming love there manifested. Judas and Caiaphas and Pilate have set themselves in their several ways to oppose and to crush the purpose of Christ, and yet despite themselves they became ministers. They sent Christ to the cross; by the cross he completed his atoning work; from the cross he reigns over mankind. God in Christ has not merely defeated evil, but has made it the occasion of his own supremest glory.

Never was conquest so complete; never was triumph so stupendous. The completeness of the victory is due to the completeness of the evil over which it was won. It is the very darkness which enshrouds the cross that makes so glorious the light proceeding him from it. Had there been no despair, no sense of desolation and defeat, but merely the onward march of irresistible power to the achievement of its end, evil might have been beaten, but not bound in captivity to love forever. God in Christ endures defeat, and out of the very stuff of defeat he wrought his victory and achievement.

William Temple
Mens creatrix

Lord, Have Mercy