Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whitsunday: Are you receiving me?

Clearly, the answer is yes. I was received this Whitsun Morning into the Anglican Catholic Church. First and foremost, I would draw your attention to my disclaimer. I do not speak on behalf of any church or organisation of which I am a member. For official positions, you must go to the authorities I cite. For my part, I will endeavour to be as factually accurate as I can.

So now I am an Anglican Catholic. There were no tongues of flame above my head. There were no ecstatic tongues, no prophetic utterances, no wild and exuberant behaviour. I was glad, and I expect the bishop and the congregation were glad that I didn't launch into some diatribe in Xhosa at the beginning of Mass.

That's not to say that it couldn't happen.

God is not a tame God and only He knows what He could have got me to do under His influence. Stand in the nave arcing electricity from my fingers like Davros? I suppose it could be argued that perhaps I haven't enough faith for such a remarkable manifestation to occur, or for miracles to be performed. If God wanted that to have happened, then that's what would have happened. Personally, I am thankful that it didn't and that Mass was as edifying and as exquisite as it should be.

The fact remains: God is a dangerous God.

And the Anglican Catholic Church is a dangerous Church, apparently.

Well, that's quite cheering, really. What danger does the Church and Her Groom pose?

It's a very simple answer: Christ is dangerous to the way of life that we would lead without Him. It is this wonderful figure of the itinerant preacher who turns the complacent lives of the world upside down. The lives of unbelievers and believers alike have been affected by His continual and continuous involvement in the affairs of mankind.

To paraphrase Bishop Mead this morning: our lives are dangerous to God. If we choose to live the way we want to live, then we can only go so far as to killing God. Nietzsche demonstrates that so obviously. Divinity and Humanity seem to be so utterly opposed to each other that the one will cause the death of the other.

Except God is not opposed to Humanity, though it cannot be generally said vice versa. God's love for human beings forces Him to take the danger head on. He loses His life but such is the speed of His passing that He crashes through Death out the other side into life. God is not just dangerous to Human Beings, He is dangerous to Death too.

It is no wonder then that we should fear a God Who can risk His life, indeed lose His life, for His Creation for this is a God Who respects no boundaries: Life - Death, Light - Dark, Heaven - Hell, Without - Within. Receiving Him into our lives thus runs so great a risk as to pull us into places which we wouldn't ever have dreamed of going and, further, to turn us into the people we wouldn't ever have dreamed of becoming. He is a threat to the very self that we perceive ourselves to be. But then, is the self that we perceive ourselves to be the person that we would want to be? Can you really honestly answer "yes" to that?

So then, a safe church does not possess the God who threatens to transform us into loving beings. Why then did I feel no different in being received into the Anglican Catholic Church? Perhaps it isn't a dangerous church after all!

All I have to do is to look back at the turmoil of the last few months and realise that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. He is a loving God and while He will always surprise and even shock me, He won't contradict Himself, nor will He allow me to be destroyed. My transformation has happened, is happening and will happen at His pace, and I pray that I may always will it so and that I may have the purity of heart to work with that Divine Will.

How dangerous is your Church?


Jakian Thomist said...

I am happy for you Warwickensis that you have found a place where your spirit is at peace!

Out of curiousity, I read your first post on this blog and your subsequent yearly 'blogday' updates and it is wonderful to see how your spiritual journey has progressed these past 6 years.

Godspeed and my best wishes to you and your new parish.

Warwickensis said...

Thank you for your kind words, Jakian. I've often wondered about how self-contradictory I've been, not that I would be the only one to suffer from this.

Whither now? A little more godly stability,I hope.

Gregory said...

Dear Warwickensis,

I am happy to have read your experience for it is also mine. I have been received into the Anglican Catholic Church just a few weeks ago by Bp. Starks. No fire from heaven, no earthquakes, no doves descending from the sky - but a dangerous experience. I too know I am exactly where I need to be.

Thank you, and may God bless you.

Fr. Gregory +

Anonymous said...

Dear Jonathan,

I only today discovered that your reception had taken place. May you be an asset in the English ACC by your wisdom and good judgement. You have certainly made the right choice, and you will thus avoid the ambiguities that will dog those of us in other Anglican communities for many months or years yet. May God bless you on your pilgrimage!

Warwickensis said...

Thank you Fr Gregory and Fr Anthony.

I have been blessed by God in finding somewhere to call home. We in the ACC-UK are very aware of the paucity of our numbers but we are growing.

My hope is that I can contribute in my own small way to that growth.
My heart is still with all those Anglicans who find themselves in the maelstrom from which I have found a safe haven. I pray that they may find somewhere to rest from their labours and regain strength for the fight in which all Christians must engage against Sin the World and the Devil.

My prayers are with you both. I also pray that we may meet soon.