Well, yesterday wasn’t quite as expected. Exhaustion set in and I pretty much stayed away from the computer all day. Went to the two services (and have to find my notes on what I wanted to write about in the linking of the two) and went to Prayer Shawls for an hour – although I was the only one there, which was why I left after an hour. After a good night’s sleep sans all the cats, I’m ready to tackle Monday now. 🙂
The sermon at HT had to do with reaffirmation of baptism, given that Episcopals tend to have this done as babies, with their parents initiating them into not only the rite of baptism and its forgiveness of original sin, but also promising the following, to which they answer on behalf of their child “I will, with God’s help”:
- Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
- Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
- Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
- Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
- Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
How many of you were taught about these vows made on your behalf? Well, if you went through the rite of Confirmation (a rite that is only part of the liturgical churches, and not the Biblical churches), you learned about your responsibilities then. If, like me, you were a teenager at the time, you may have forgotten what you confirmed were now your responsibility, and no longer your parents’. That’s a pretty tall order of responsibilities.
Interestingly – although not put exactly in those words – these were things that both my parents taught me as I grew up, so I can honestly answer “I will, with God’s help, and have, with God’s help” over time. I am immensely grateful to God for the parents he gave me. And for the fact that my mother figured out early on that while I might be willing to endure my parents’ disappointment in actions I took (although not often!), I could never endure disappointing God, and she turned responsibility for my character over to him by the time I was 9. And while I know that some of my actions likely have disappointed God, I am also aware of Him as a loving, if stern, parent. 🙂
So, with the knowledge that the baptismal initiation imbues the baptized with such power, two men were highlighted in the sermon at the DoH. The first was one of the most famous anti-religionist Deists, Thomas Paine, who wrote The Age of Reason. There is some controversy over his last words (which of course, I only discovered upon research), as to whether he recanted and became Christian upon his deathbed. The majority of the evidence shows that he maintained his Deist views without the addition of any “revealed religion”. In any case, his influence upon others in leading away from religion, through his writing is well-known. Another writer, although this one of music and hymns was Isaac Watts – the most famous of which is undoubtedly Joy to the World, leading others to the faith of Christianity.
The powers granted to us as baptized Christians certainly gives us a great deal of influence, should we choose to wield it. What have you done with the power granted you? And if the answer is nothing or little, what do you intend to do to change that, now that you are aware of your responsibilities?
Today’s MP contained a commemoration of Hilary of Poitiers, a bishop in the 4th century who argued (and was jailed) for the belief that the separate entities in the Trinity were all equal. Likely more remembered would be Arius, who believed that “God the Son” was subordinate to “God the Father”, a belief held by the Christian emperor at the time, Constantius II. While that emperor was in power, those who were outspoken about the belief of the three-in-one, equal Trinity were exiled or jailed. Eventually, of course, Constantius died, and those with the Arian beliefs were excommunicated as heretics with the Council of Nicea in 325. What interested me was that Hilary began life as the child of pagan parents, and studied neo-Platinism. As an adult, he then converted to Christianity, and later became the patron saint of lawyers.
I have on the tip of my brain (as it has not yet made it to the tip of my tongue, where I might be able to remember it out loud) a quote about God loving all things done decently and in order. It was what came to mind today as I was washing dishes, and the feeling that I actually *do* enjoy having things in order and the short chores as they now exist are much easier than the chaos which is still in other parts of the house. 🙂 Working on them, slowly but surely.