Aha! A Sunday and I’m actually writing. 🙂 For some reason I’m productive today, so two churches, prayer shawls, two wheelbarrows of wood split and the chicken’s cooking for making into chicken noodle soup. If I were actually being productive, the noodles would already be drying on the counter, but, ah well.
HT had a eucharist service with the “homegrown” priest that we can hire as “supply” priest when she’s in town. Were it up to me, I’d love to have her as our regular parish priest, but there’s some diocesan rule that says you can’t serve in the area where you came from. Don’t ask – doesn’t make sense to me either. Her sermon today is pretty much a summary of what this year is for me. 🙂 It was on rituals, and how we create rituals in much of what we do – think about when you get up in the morning – do you have a routine set of tasks that you generally accomplish in the same order every day? That’s a ritual. 🙂 And knowing that, the idea is to see where God fits into that ritual, no matter how small, and to become a bit more aware. Of course, she also talked about the service and how the liturgical rituals can become rote, where you stop actually paying attention and merely hear or say the words, without listening to the words and hearing them with our hearts as well as our ears. I explained to her later that in this instance, she was preaching to the choir, as with the way my father raised us, if we were merely saying the service by rote, he would prefer we leave, as we were showing disrespect to God. If we didn’t mean what we said, every time we said it, it wasn’t worth it, ’cause God wasn’t interested in lip service. I’ve always abided by that.
DoH was a bit different, and I learned several things. According to the Pastor, universalism is the concept that God is the father of all people, whether they believe in Him or not. The Pastor disagrees, quoting John 8:25-59, stating that all are the children of Satan, unless they choose to be born again in Christ. Okay, I get the concept of choice and salvation. However, I would disagree that Satan is the father of all of humanity since the fall of man, for several reasons. First, only God has the ability to make man. He *is* the father of all mankind. Second, without the presence of Christ, you are condemning every Jew, every person on Earth, including those with whom God made covenants as being the children of Satan, slaves to sin. Third – if we are able to “choose” to be born again in Christ, then we would also be able to “choose” to be slaves to sin, and in doing the “work of their father” choose to be children of Satan.
Now, while the whole concept of original sin is likely the topic of umpteen hundreds of books all by itself, I can accept that we are born into sin. As it was explained to me, Adam and Eve turned away from God, and as a result, we are each born turned away from God. In Christianity, it is through baptism that we turn back, either as a result of our own choices or those of our parents (liturgical churches, where baptism is generally done as a child). In the liturgical churches, there is also the rite of confirmation, where the child has grown enough to reason and think for themselves, and they can then *confirm* the parents’ decision to turn to God – or not.
But if we are each made in God’s image – are you trying to tell me that Satan has the ability to make men in God’s image as well? Yeah, sorry – I can’t accept that. I can accept that people will, through their actions and choices, show that they do their “father’s” work – and that they may have chosen Satan, either through word or deed – but I have a hard time believing that God would condemn a child not yet old enough to reason to the pits of hell simply because they haven’t learned enough to make the choice.
I’m beginning to argue in circles, so I’ll stop here. Interesting sermon, as always. 🙂