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Sunday, April 21
Easter Sunday 11a.m. Eucharist
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Wednesday, April 17
The Office of Tenebrae
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Easter Sermon videos are available on our Sermons page

Sunday, April 21
Easter Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
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The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus preached without the use of a manuscript.

Sunday, April 21
To an Unseeable Animal
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
Easter Sunday Sermon
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“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Lk. 24).[1]

My friend Rick Fabian defines nostalgia as, “longing for a past that is not yours.”[2] He probably did not have this consciously in mind but it made me think of the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Nostalgia can be a powerful force, a way to use the past for our own purposes in the present.[3]

Johannes Hofer invented the word nostalgia in 1669. The Greek word nostos means to return home. Algos means pain. Nostalgia is the pain of returning home in our imagination. The word nostos also refers to a whole genre of Greek epic literature about heroes returning home by sea. Like Homer’s Odyssey it is not enough to return to a place, the challenge is to do this with one’s identity intact. When it comes to Easter how do we move beyond the longing for a past that is not our own?

On March 29, 1832 the twenty-eight year old Ralph Waldo Emerson visited the tomb of his wife Ellen. Before her death over a year earlier the couple had been deeply and joyfully in love. They traveled and wrote poetry together. They dreamed of the future until tuberculosis killed her two years after their wedding.[4]

Without her, Emerson’s life completely unraveled. His career was falling apart and he felt preoccupied with death. On that day in March he did something extraordinary. He opened his wife’s coffin. No one knows what he saw there. Emerson craved direct personal experience. He needed to see death for himself.

Perhaps his deeply religious aunt Mary Moody Emerson inspired him. In a letter she once wrote, “Did I not assure good Lincoln Riley… that I should be willing to have [my] limbs rot… if I could perceive more of God?”[5]

On this Feast of the Resurrection, when we desire to perceive more of God, I have three short chapters on memory, body and mystery.

  1. Memory. The women who go to anoint Jesus’ body with oils and spices are in such a different frame of mind than Emerson was. The shock of the escalating events must have hit them hard: from the cheering crowds as Jesus entered Jerusalem to his arrest, trial, torture and death. At dawn in what the Greek calls the depth of the early morning they find the tomb door open and the body gone.

Suddenly two men in dazzling, shimmering, shining, flashing (astraptō) clothes appear. The women recoil in fear. The men ask, “why do you look for the living among the dead” (Lk. 24)? Then they say, “remember how he told you” that “the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, crucified and on the third day rise again?” The next line is what strikes me so deeply. “Then they remembered his words.” Easter is about a kind of remembering.

But how could they have forgotten in the first place? Jesus told his friends that terrible things were going to happen to him. I guess it was so much easier to not take that in, to get wrapped up in routines and habits, to think about other subjects, to argue about who is greater, or to dismiss what he said in one way or another. We do this too. We know things subconsciously that our rational self cannot face.

What might not be obvious when we read this story in English is how often the word memory occurs here. The Greek word for tomb is mnēma. That’s more like our English word “memorial” and that is what a grave is for isn’t it? To remember. The Greek word mimnēskomai means something less passive than our English word to remember. It is more like, “to bring past actions to bear on the present with new power and insight.”[6]

This kind of remembering means more than just passively thinking thoughts, it is to change our actions in the present. Easter brings us into the presence of God by showing us that we are God’s children, that nothing we have done or that happens to us can separate us from the love of Christ.

  1. Body. Bodies matter so much to Jesus and to his followers. In the last half-century bodies of people in industrialized societies have changed substantially. This fall the Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky spoke here at Grace Cathedral. He talked about how our bodies are flooded with levels and kinds of pleasure that humans in previous generations could never have imagined. In a Cathedral organ concert he noticed that in earlier generations this music would have been the loudest human made sound the people ever heard.

Today the food we eat, the drugs we use, the music we listen to, the images we see, the smell of soaps, etc. are all engineered to light up our brains. Drugs mean that we can experience dopamine levels a thousand times higher than any other human before. People these days have a hard time just walking safely around the city because their brains are constantly being stimulated through their earphones.

 

Sapolsky points out that these, “over-the-top non-natural sources of reward” inevitably leads to habitation and a sense of “pervasive emptiness.” He says, “Our frequent human tragedy is the more we consume, the hungrier we get.”[7]

In this hungry time we need bodily wisdom. When I say that I believe in the resurrection of the body I am saying two things simultaneously. First, that no matter how desperate things seem to be I trust God. Nothing truly good will be lost forever. I am also saying that despite evidence to the contrary I believe that the world God made, the world we experience as bodies, is good. Bodies matter to God.

Although today bodies and our anxieties about them are manipulated to sell products, to demean and to devalue, we can choose to treat bodies with reverence. This effort explains so much of what happens in this Cathedral. Together we kneel, stand, sit and through singing even breathe together. We are reminded that Jesus says, “this is my body” about the meal we share. In baptism our bodies are washed. At the peace we touch each other in love and hope. Together we are called the body of Christ. Through Christ God participates in the world. One day we believe our bodies will be gathered together in God.[8]

  1. Mystery. After their encounter at the tomb the women rush off to tell Jesus’ other friends. “And they did not believe them” (Lk. 24). Not believing amidst the chaos of ordinary life is normal. Belief is something that is different than knowledge. We all have moments of stronger and weaker faith. I love this story of Peter running to the grave. What did he think about as he went? He too sees the burial linens. The body is gone. He returns, “amazed at what had happened.”

Nothing about this seemed obvious or clear to the people who were there or to us. Most of God will always be mysterious. At the heart of our life is mystery. We just don’t often enough appreciate it.

On Monday night in the darkness of dusk I was walking by Signal Hill in the Presidio. On the west side of the path the Eucalyptus Trees were shaking in the onshore wind. On the left side of the path are the ancient and dying Cypress Trees making a kind of extraordinary natural cathedral nave.

Fifteen yards away a coyote stopped in the middle of the path to look at me and then sauntered along a side trail. I felt such an intense thrill of joy. This is how I felt last time I was surfing and a curious seal popped its head out of the water to inspect me. What are these beings thinking? The mystery is all around us and God is in it.

Wendell Berry wrote a poem called “To the Unseeable Animal.”

“Being, whose flesh dissolves / at our glance, knower /of the secret sums and measures, / you are always here, / dwelling in the oldest sycamores, / visiting the faithful springs / when they are dark and the foxes / have crept up to their edges. / I have come upon pools  / in streams, places overgrown / with the wood’s shadow, / where I knew you had rested, / watching the little fish / hang still in the flow; / as I approached they seemed / particles of your clear mind /disappearing among the rocks. / I have walked deep in the woods in the early morning, sure / that while I slept / your gaze passed over me.”

“That we do not know you / is your perfection / and our hope. The darkness / keeps us near to you.”[9]

Why do we look for the living among the dead? Especially when there is so much life all around us? I think it is because we long for a deeper perception of God and do not know where to begin.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had to see for himself. We don’t know what he experienced that day at his wife’s grave but we do know that it broke his self-destructive preoccupation with death. Within a year he was on a ship to meet his intellectual heroes in Europe and a reputation as an incurable optimist.

What hope is there for us on this treadmill of saturated sensation and the pervasive emptiness of habituation? We are not doomed to feel nostalgia for someone else’s past. Through Jesus we can return home to God.

 

This Easter is our own when we remember it through action as children of God. Easter is our own when we treat our bodies with reverence and become more compassionate about the bodies of others. Easter is our own when it enables us to really live in the present, so that we can enjoy the mystery of our origin and destination, the mystery of every being we encounter. Alleluia, Christ is risen!

[1] “Alleluia Christ is risen! Alleluia, Christ is risen!”

[2] Richard Fabian, “The Vicar of Bray or, Anglican Identity at Prayer.” Unpublished book chapter, 5 March 2019 Draft. Page 1.

[3] So much of today’s nostalgia seems employed to unsettle and exclude our neighbors – whose America, whose past are we talking about?

[4] Robert D. Richardson, Emerson: The Mind on Fire (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1995) 3-5.

[5] “Did I not assure good Lincoln Riley, long since, that I should be willing to have limbs rot, and senses dug out, if I could perceive more of God? Ibid., 4.

[6] Matt Boulton, “Dawn: SALT’s Lectionary Commentary for Easter Sunday,” SALT, 16 April 2019. http://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/2019/4/16/dawn-salts-lectionary-commentary-for-easter-sunday

[7] Robert Sapolsky, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (NY: Penguin, 2017) 69.

[8] Stephanie Paulsell, Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice (NY: Jossey-Bass, 2002).

[9] Wendell Berry, “To An Unseeable Animal,” from Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry ed. David Impastato (NY: Oxford University Press, 1997) 135-6.

Watch Easter Sunday Sermons:


 

 

Sermons from the last six months are available below. You can also listen to our sermons as a podcast, Sermons from Grace, wherever you get your podcasts!

 

Sunday, April 21
Easter Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
Read sermon

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus preached without the use of a manuscript.

Sunday, April 21
To an Unseeable Animal
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
Easter Sunday Sermon
Read sermon

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Lk. 24).[1]

My friend Rick Fabian defines nostalgia as, “longing for a past that is not yours.”[2] He probably did not have this consciously in mind but it made me think of the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Nostalgia can be a powerful force, a way to use the past for our own purposes in the present.[3]

Johannes Hofer invented the word nostalgia in 1669. The Greek word nostos means to return home. Algos means pain. Nostalgia is the pain of returning home in our imagination. The word nostos also refers to a whole genre of Greek epic literature about heroes returning home by sea. Like Homer’s Odyssey it is not enough to return to a place, the challenge is to do this with one’s identity intact. When it comes to Easter how do we move beyond the longing for a past that is not our own?

On March 29, 1832 the twenty-eight year old Ralph Waldo Emerson visited the tomb of his wife Ellen. Before her death over a year earlier the couple had been deeply and joyfully in love. They traveled and wrote poetry together. They dreamed of the future until tuberculosis killed her two years after their wedding.[4]

Without her, Emerson’s life completely unraveled. His career was falling apart and he felt preoccupied with death. On that day in March he did something extraordinary. He opened his wife’s coffin. No one knows what he saw there. Emerson craved direct personal experience. He needed to see death for himself.

Perhaps his deeply religious aunt Mary Moody Emerson inspired him. In a letter she once wrote, “Did I not assure good Lincoln Riley… that I should be willing to have [my] limbs rot… if I could perceive more of God?”[5]

On this Feast of the Resurrection, when we desire to perceive more of God, I have three short chapters on memory, body and mystery.

  1. Memory. The women who go to anoint Jesus’ body with oils and spices are in such a different frame of mind than Emerson was. The shock of the escalating events must have hit them hard: from the cheering crowds as Jesus entered Jerusalem to his arrest, trial, torture and death. At dawn in what the Greek calls the depth of the early morning they find the tomb door open and the body gone.

Suddenly two men in dazzling, shimmering, shining, flashing (astraptō) clothes appear. The women recoil in fear. The men ask, “why do you look for the living among the dead” (Lk. 24)? Then they say, “remember how he told you” that “the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, crucified and on the third day rise again?” The next line is what strikes me so deeply. “Then they remembered his words.” Easter is about a kind of remembering.

But how could they have forgotten in the first place? Jesus told his friends that terrible things were going to happen to him. I guess it was so much easier to not take that in, to get wrapped up in routines and habits, to think about other subjects, to argue about who is greater, or to dismiss what he said in one way or another. We do this too. We know things subconsciously that our rational self cannot face.

What might not be obvious when we read this story in English is how often the word memory occurs here. The Greek word for tomb is mnēma. That’s more like our English word “memorial” and that is what a grave is for isn’t it? To remember. The Greek word mimnēskomai means something less passive than our English word to remember. It is more like, “to bring past actions to bear on the present with new power and insight.”[6]

This kind of remembering means more than just passively thinking thoughts, it is to change our actions in the present. Easter brings us into the presence of God by showing us that we are God’s children, that nothing we have done or that happens to us can separate us from the love of Christ.

  1. Body. Bodies matter so much to Jesus and to his followers. In the last half-century bodies of people in industrialized societies have changed substantially. This fall the Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky spoke here at Grace Cathedral. He talked about how our bodies are flooded with levels and kinds of pleasure that humans in previous generations could never have imagined. In a Cathedral organ concert he noticed that in earlier generations this music would have been the loudest human made sound the people ever heard.

Today the food we eat, the drugs we use, the music we listen to, the images we see, the smell of soaps, etc. are all engineered to light up our brains. Drugs mean that we can experience dopamine levels a thousand times higher than any other human before. People these days have a hard time just walking safely around the city because their brains are constantly being stimulated through their earphones.

 

Sapolsky points out that these, “over-the-top non-natural sources of reward” inevitably leads to habitation and a sense of “pervasive emptiness.” He says, “Our frequent human tragedy is the more we consume, the hungrier we get.”[7]

In this hungry time we need bodily wisdom. When I say that I believe in the resurrection of the body I am saying two things simultaneously. First, that no matter how desperate things seem to be I trust God. Nothing truly good will be lost forever. I am also saying that despite evidence to the contrary I believe that the world God made, the world we experience as bodies, is good. Bodies matter to God.

Although today bodies and our anxieties about them are manipulated to sell products, to demean and to devalue, we can choose to treat bodies with reverence. This effort explains so much of what happens in this Cathedral. Together we kneel, stand, sit and through singing even breathe together. We are reminded that Jesus says, “this is my body” about the meal we share. In baptism our bodies are washed. At the peace we touch each other in love and hope. Together we are called the body of Christ. Through Christ God participates in the world. One day we believe our bodies will be gathered together in God.[8]

  1. Mystery. After their encounter at the tomb the women rush off to tell Jesus’ other friends. “And they did not believe them” (Lk. 24). Not believing amidst the chaos of ordinary life is normal. Belief is something that is different than knowledge. We all have moments of stronger and weaker faith. I love this story of Peter running to the grave. What did he think about as he went? He too sees the burial linens. The body is gone. He returns, “amazed at what had happened.”

Nothing about this seemed obvious or clear to the people who were there or to us. Most of God will always be mysterious. At the heart of our life is mystery. We just don’t often enough appreciate it.

On Monday night in the darkness of dusk I was walking by Signal Hill in the Presidio. On the west side of the path the Eucalyptus Trees were shaking in the onshore wind. On the left side of the path are the ancient and dying Cypress Trees making a kind of extraordinary natural cathedral nave.

Fifteen yards away a coyote stopped in the middle of the path to look at me and then sauntered along a side trail. I felt such an intense thrill of joy. This is how I felt last time I was surfing and a curious seal popped its head out of the water to inspect me. What are these beings thinking? The mystery is all around us and God is in it.

Wendell Berry wrote a poem called “To the Unseeable Animal.”

“Being, whose flesh dissolves / at our glance, knower /of the secret sums and measures, / you are always here, / dwelling in the oldest sycamores, / visiting the faithful springs / when they are dark and the foxes / have crept up to their edges. / I have come upon pools  / in streams, places overgrown / with the wood’s shadow, / where I knew you had rested, / watching the little fish / hang still in the flow; / as I approached they seemed / particles of your clear mind /disappearing among the rocks. / I have walked deep in the woods in the early morning, sure / that while I slept / your gaze passed over me.”

“That we do not know you / is your perfection / and our hope. The darkness / keeps us near to you.”[9]

Why do we look for the living among the dead? Especially when there is so much life all around us? I think it is because we long for a deeper perception of God and do not know where to begin.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had to see for himself. We don’t know what he experienced that day at his wife’s grave but we do know that it broke his self-destructive preoccupation with death. Within a year he was on a ship to meet his intellectual heroes in Europe and a reputation as an incurable optimist.

What hope is there for us on this treadmill of saturated sensation and the pervasive emptiness of habituation? We are not doomed to feel nostalgia for someone else’s past. Through Jesus we can return home to God.

 

This Easter is our own when we remember it through action as children of God. Easter is our own when we treat our bodies with reverence and become more compassionate about the bodies of others. Easter is our own when it enables us to really live in the present, so that we can enjoy the mystery of our origin and destination, the mystery of every being we encounter. Alleluia, Christ is risen!

[1] “Alleluia Christ is risen! Alleluia, Christ is risen!”

[2] Richard Fabian, “The Vicar of Bray or, Anglican Identity at Prayer.” Unpublished book chapter, 5 March 2019 Draft. Page 1.

[3] So much of today’s nostalgia seems employed to unsettle and exclude our neighbors – whose America, whose past are we talking about?

[4] Robert D. Richardson, Emerson: The Mind on Fire (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1995) 3-5.

[5] “Did I not assure good Lincoln Riley, long since, that I should be willing to have limbs rot, and senses dug out, if I could perceive more of God? Ibid., 4.

[6] Matt Boulton, “Dawn: SALT’s Lectionary Commentary for Easter Sunday,” SALT, 16 April 2019. http://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/2019/4/16/dawn-salts-lectionary-commentary-for-easter-sunday

[7] Robert Sapolsky, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (NY: Penguin, 2017) 69.

[8] Stephanie Paulsell, Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice (NY: Jossey-Bass, 2002).

[9] Wendell Berry, “To An Unseeable Animal,” from Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry ed. David Impastato (NY: Oxford University Press, 1997) 135-6.

Friday, April 19
Good Friday Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Mary Carter Greene
Read sermon
Thursday, April 18
Maundy Thursday Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Jude Harmon
Read sermon
Tuesday, April 16
Chrism Mass Sermon
Preacher: The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
Sermon from Tuesday's Chrism Mass
Read sermon
Sunday, April 14
What Sleeping Rocks Dream
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
Read sermon

“I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out” (Lk. 19).

 

What is the nature of existence? Three hundred years ago Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) addressed this question in his essay “Of Being.” He wrote, “The mind can never… conceive of a state of perfect nothing.”

The reason for this is that all things are connected. To be, is to be in relation to something else and to God. To use Edwards’ language there is nothing shut up in a room completely apart. There is nothing that has no effect on, or relation to, the whole. We are connected across vast distances of space and time. Edwards said, “[T]here is not one leaf of a tree, or spire of grass, but what has effects all over the universe.”[1]

On March 28, 1965 Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about this idea in this very pulpit. He said, “All [people] are caught in an inescapable web of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”[2] The moments of greatest joy in my life have arisen from a glimpse of that infinite web of connection.

I was fortunate enough to have a job after college but it didn’t start until the end of summer. After graduation everyone went off to the rest of their lives but my friend Scott and I still had about two months free. On a lark we went to the travel agent and fourteen hours later we were on the plane to Kenya.

We hoped to surprise our friend Nick at the most remote Peace Corps site in East Africa, but we had no idea how to find him. We had a vague recollection that once a week Nick went to a market town called Nunguni. We thought it might be on Thursdays. The day after we arrived was Thursday so we went through the streets of Nairobi repeating, “Nunguni. Nunguni. Nunguni.”

We had no idea what this word meant. We wondered it if might somehow be offensive (like the word cesspool) because when we said it people seemed to walk off in disgust. Someone told us to go to the Machakos Airport which oddly enough was the bus terminal. And there we met someone who reminded us of the safari salesmen that used to wander the streets seeking out hapless American tourists.

He took us through a maze of streets and put us in the back seat of a tiny Peugeot 405. He demanded payment and then disappeared forever. The tiny car filled up with Africans, fish wrapped in newspaper, and a pair of chickens that kept pecking my friend’s ear. It was almost like they knew he was from L.A. and had never seen one before. When there were thirteen people in the car we started driving and realized that the man who had put us in there was nowhere to be found.

We worried about being in the wrong car. We’d say “Nunguni” to the other passengers and they would nod or shake their heads in frustration as they got out of the car.

Finally my friend and I were the only ones left. We even wondered if we might be murdered. After driving through the most deserted wilderness the car slowed to pass through a crowd of hundreds of people. It was like a photograph from National Geographic. In that surging sea of brightly dressed Africans there was one mzungu, one white person. It was our friend Nick. We waved casually to him. He waved back and kept walking.

Nick did a double take, then a triple take, then a quadruple take. His eyes were coming out of his head. For the rest of the afternoon he was literally shaking with excitement. He had been feeling lonely and depressed. He couldn’t believe that we’d traveled from the other side of the world to see him. We spent the day shivering with the joy of connection.

God is full of even greater surprises.  God chooses an inconsequential, powerless and ungrateful group of slaves to be his chosen people.  God names the youngest, least promising of Jesse’s eight sons as the greatest king of Israel.  God even changes the heart of Paul, the most zealous Jewish persecutor of the early church and he becomes the one to bring its message to the world.[3]

Palm Sunday is the Feast of Divine Unpredictability. Jesus rides a colt into Jerusalem. Huge crowds begin cheering and chanting joyfully. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven” (Lk. 19).

I want to leave you here to rest in this moment of rejoicing for a little while longer. There are so many times when I see myself in the Pharisees. They say, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop” (Lk. 19). I don’t know why they do this but I want them to stop too because I know what is coming next and it hurts.

Every year reading the passion narrative on Palm Sunday feels cruel to me. This is because we have to face a truth that we usually avoid. It forces us to see ourselves in each of the people around Jesus during his last days. The disciples seem impossibly blind to reality, incapable of facing what is about to occur. In them I see myself trying desperately just to think happy thoughts instead of coming to terms with what is real.

I am the disciple who cannot stay awake. In my own way like Peter I deny that I even know Jesus. Violence is so deep in me that when the moment of truth comes I too look for my sword. I’m like Pilate and want to just expedite the process. Like Herod I’m curious and long to be popular. I’m like the crowds taking strength in numbers and deluded by hate. I am the thief and the Centurion who realize too late who Jesus is. With the women who love Jesus we watch from a distance in horror unable to help.

Last week Nadia Bolz-Weber talked about practicing yoga every day.[4] She clearly loves yoga. But at the same time she complained that the yoga she has encountered is, “a tireless font of affirmation.” She says that ultimately it leaves people hollow inside. It becomes a way of “pawning off narcissism as spirituality” by refusing to acknowledge what Christians call sin. She said that people secretly know they are missing something but that it is so much easier to receive the affirmation than to acknowledge that everything is not just all about us. She said that if we repeat to ourselves the line, “You are a divine being; let go of whatever doesn’t affirm you,” if we really do abandon everyone who doesn’t affirm us then we will find ourselves alone and unable to work out our own history.[5]

W.H. Auden ends his poem “Leap Before You Look” with a simple line. “Our dream of safety has to disappear.”[6] In short to be healed we need to recognize human sin. A flourishing human being has to come to terms with the fact that sin is not remote from us. Mostly we deny it, but in our own ways we contribute to the cruelty and hatred in the world.

The Bible often seems horrifying because it shows us who we really are. But Jesus knows this. He predicts that Peter will betray him. He sees that he will face his persecutors alone. Looking around the table at his last meal he understands just what the disciples are like, and what we are like too.

At the heart of the Christian journey lies a promise. It is not a reassurance that nothing bad will ever happen to us. It is a pledge that through our own crucifixion God will be there with us. God is not shut up in a room far away, pure and perfect. God is not unaffected by who we are or what we need. God is here.

What is the nature of our existence? At the end of his essay Edwards writes that to conceive of nothing we must think the same thing that “sleeping rocks dream.”[7] We are so connected that we can hardly imagine anything else. When the Pharisees ask Jesus to silence the disciples he replies that it would be impossible. The truth the crowds speak is so powerful that if they were silent “even the stones would shout out” (Lk. 19).

Across the vast distances of space and time, the spires of grass, the leaves of the trees, African chickens, old friends and sinners like you and me shiver with the joy of connection. In this inescapable web of mutuality let us celebrate the Feast of Divine Unpredictability. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”

 

[1] In this essay Edwards also says, “Space is God.” Jonathan Edwards, “Of Being,” The Collected Works of Jonathan Edwards: Scientific and Philosophical Writings, Vol. 6 ed. Wallace E. Anderson (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980) 202-7.

[2] I’m not sure if these are the exact words but Martin Luther King said something close to this in his sermon here 28 March 2965. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so8kSH8IwIA

[3] Palm Sunday (3-24-02) A.

[4] Grace Cathedral Forum 7 April 2019.

[5] My friend’s recollection of this conversation. ” She spoke about the “tireless font of affirmation” leaving people feeling hollow inside (I remember this because I thought to myself how I wish she extended the metaphor and said it left them “thirsty for the truth in the drought/desert that is narcissism lol) like secretly they know something is missing, but it’s so much easier just to receive the affirmation than acknowledging that it’s not all about us. She did talk about the memes that are like “you are a divine being; let go of whatever doesn’t affirm you” and that at the end of letting go of everyone who doesn’t 100% affirm us, we’re left isolated and alone, incapable of knowing how to really work through our shit with someone who cares enough about us to do that…”

[6] W. H. Auden, “Leap Before You Look.” http://web.mit.edu/cordelia/www/Poems/Leap_Before_you_look.html

[7] Jonathan Edwards, “Of Being,” The Collected Works of Jonathan Edwards: Scientific and Philosophical Writings, Vol. 6 ed. Wallace E. Anderson (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980) 206.

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