Monday, 23 November 2009

“In a fortified city.”

"Blessed be the Lord who has shown me the wonders of his love in a fortified city."
Some words from the psalmody in this morning’s Office of Readings which struck home particularly today.

This a quotation from the book, “Martyr of Ritualism” (1965) by Michael Reynolds:
One has the impression that the atmosphere was a good deal livelier, and less inhibited, than in the average officers’ mess. Mackonochie, though not himself much given to levity, evidently enjoyed the jokes of others; his very soberness had the effect of bring out their exuberance. And this effect was not limited to the clergy-house. The practical, matter-of-fact way in which he went about his work in the parish - never shirking a duty, however irksome, taking everything as it came, doing it all calmly and meticulously – raised the spirits, and fired the imagination, of his comrades. Their corporate spirit burned higher and stronger as their leader and their church were increasingly beset with troubles. The clergy of St Albans’s were like a unit of picked assault troops. Their gaiety had something of the proud, carefree quality of laughter under fire….”

Despite the undoubted difficulties and profound anxiety of the last decade or so, we should never forget the good things which have come to us from God as a result: the deepening of our spiritual lives, the renewal of many of our traditions of prayer and devotion, our experience (which those across the border still have) of an unfettered and truly pastoral episcopal ministry, a renewed sense of ecclesial identity and a significant diminution of that perennial contradiction of Anglo-Catholic life, “catholic congregationalism.”
We must add to the list of graces received the rediscovery of the ecumenical imperative, particularly that of our long-held conviction of the necessity of the Petrine ministry for the right ordering of God’s Church.

If we are now at a point where our Christian pilgrimage is about to begin another and more hopeful stage, it is the lost battles of recent years which have lead us here.

Such is the God with whom we have to do. We do not come to God for a little help, a little support to our good intentions. We come to him for resurrection. God will not be asked for a little, he will be asked for all. We reckon ourselves dead, says St Paul, that we may ask God for a resurrection, not of ourselves, but of Christ in us.”

Austin Farrer, “The Crown of the Year”

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