Monday, May 17, 2010

Sermon Thoughts II

This is more in the manner of deep background, as the journalists call it. I probably will not discuss any of this explicitly, but it certainly forms the core of my approach to my life in the faith.

I know I am in a minority of no more than myself in this, but I do not believe there is such a distinction as exists between those things that are "sacred" (dedicated to God) and "profane" (dedicated to our earthly life and having no bearing on our relationship with God). In the passion narrative in St. Matthew's Gospel, at the moment of Jesus' death, the veil in the Temple - the veil that separated the Ark of the Covenant, the throne of God, the Holy of Holies, from the people - is torn asunder. St. Paul calls the cross a stumbling block and a scandal precisely because it was understood to be reserved for that most horrid of crimes, treachery against the rulers. Making of the method used by the Romans to execute Jesus a symbol of God's love would be like enshrining the electric chair or hypodermic needle used in executions here in the US.

If we consider the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the free and unmerited grace offered all creation in that event, the idea that there is any area of human life that is or even can be cordoned off and called "profane" is nonsensical. All of our life, as we await the final consummation of God's plan for a new creation, is a participation in God's Providential grace and love. Even the most terrible horrors also have a spark of God's grace in them. Whether it is mass murder, natural disasters, love and sex, sitting and eating a meal, or the arts, there exists the possibility of experiencing the grace of God at the heart of it that transcends our own attempts at moral definition.

For this reason, every space is a holy, sacred place, every song is a sacred song. The categories by which we order our lives crumble under the Divine power of God's gracious love; those who insist that there are words or deeds that are "inappropriate" for Church are not reckoning with the love of God, but their own sense of social propriety. Those who think there are songs that should not be sung are doing much the same thing. While it may be true that, in practice, we accept certain social proprieties - I, for one, as a practicing mobile disc jockey, would never play a song with foul language that had not been edited out if I knew there were children or others present who would be offended - on a theological level, at least, we also have to grant the artificiality, the contingency of these kinds of decisions. They have nothing of God's grace about them.

Virtual Tin Cup

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