Saturday, July 30, 2011

Subdeacons and Readers: Lay or Nay?

Vocation is a strange beast. Why? For the simple reasons that first, ALL Christians have a vocation by God, and second, ALL human beings are different. There are, therefore, as many vocations as there are human beings, though of course, not all people respond to that call.

Of course, mention the word "vocation" in Christian circles, and the first thought is the white collar around the neck. It seems that the only people who are perceived to have vocations are Bishops, Priests and Deacons.

It has to be remembered that there were roles for the laity: Porters, Lectors, Exorcists and Acolytes - the so called minor orders. On the cusp, sort of sandwiched between the two groups, is the Subdeacon. The Subdiaconate essentially developed from the role of the Acolyte but because of his important role at Mass, the Subdeacon's orders were more and more regarded and reserved for the ordained ministry.

In the CofE, the last ordination of a subdeacon took place, I believe, in the 1940s. As the Anglican and Roman Catholics have both moved away from the traditional High Mass ritual requiring three sacred ministers, the role of Subdeacon has become redundant. This is certainly a sign of a change in the attitude towards the Mass: it was the duty of the Subdeacon to carry the chalice, assist in the preparation of the Altar and to read the Epistle. The fact that it is apparently no longer necessary for someone to require theological and spiritual training in order to fulfil this role shows how regard for the Mass has changed. As the office of the Subdeacon decreased, so did the office of Reader increased.

Now, this may well be to the good. The Subdeacon does not seem to have anything in the way of Biblical support. Acolytes, Lectors, Porters and Exorcists have the roots of their ministry in the Jewish temple. Our Lord Himself acted as Lector when he read that famous passage "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" from Isiaiah and then scandalised the temple when he then declared that it was He Who fulfilled that scripture. We see St Andrew and St Philip acting as Porters when they opens the door for the Greeks to visit Jesus in St John's Gospel (cap. xii), we also see the disciples as exorcists, driving out demons in the Name of Christ. The Acolytes served in the temple. We have the complicated references in the Pauline Epistles to the ministry of Deacons, Presbyters and Overseers (with some interchangeability between the latter two) which develop in character to the ministry of Deacons, Priests and Bishops. The Subdeacon, however, is nowhere to be found and it may be a mark of the Reformation to excise the Subdiaconate in deference to Holy Scripture.

But then, neither is the Reader a scriptural beast.

By "Reader", I mean the office within the Anglican Church. The first Elizabethan Reader was ordained in 7 January 1559 in Bow Church. The CofE describes Readers as:

lay men and women, from a wide diversity of occupations and backgrounds, who recognize a call to serve God and his world through the Church of England. They work in a variety of roles and situations across the Church, being authorised by the Church of England to preach and teach, to conduct or assist in conducting worship, and to assist in the pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work of the Church in the parish or area where they are licensed.

As well as their formal roles Readers have many informal ways of
ministering by their presence, witness and listening at their places of work, at home, among the neighbours and in their local communities. They are informed lay people living out their faith in their different walks of life.

Readers may:

  • Preach

  • Lead worship, except those services and parts of services specifically excluded by Canon

  • Read the Old or New Testament readings, Epistle or Gospel at any service

  • Lead intercessions

  • Receive and present the offerings of the people

  • Distribute the consecrated bread and wine to the people

  • Take Communion to the sick and housebound

  • Publish banns of marriage in the absence of a priest

  • Undertake pastoral and educational work

  • Assist any minister as the bishop may direct

With permission from the incumbent of the parish, Readers may:

  • Accept occasional invitations to take part in services in a church of another denomination

With permission from the Bishop, Readers may:

  • Officiate at Communion by Extension services

  • Officiate at Funeral services (with the good will of the persons responsible)

  • Accept regular invitations to take part in services in a church of another denomination, with the approval also of the PCC of the parish where the service is to take place.

Readers may NOT:

  • Officiate at the sacrament of baptism, except in an emergency situation when it is lawful for
    any lay person to baptise

  • Officiate at a marriage service

  • Pronounce the Absolution or give a Blessing but should use an authorised alternative form of
Now, perhaps we begin to see here some confusion of roles. Much of what is written here is applicable for the Deacon. Unlike the Subdeacon, the Deacon has a Role that exists outside the Chancel. Again, that perhaps represents a shift in the way we think about the centrality of the Mass to a community. What I mean is that it is the duty of Bishop, Priest and Deacon to extend what happens in the Chancel beyond that Chancel and to bring into the Chancel the concerns of the world without. It is this ability and duty - indeed, this spirit and character (et cum spiritu tuo) - that separates ordained ministry from lay ministry.

All ordained ministers are reminded before ordination that they are laymen before they are clergymen, that they have a lay ministry - a ministry at the coalface between sacred and secular - before an ordained ministry in presenting the people to God and God to the people.

Is then a Reader merely a Deacon with the sacrament lopped off? If so, then why is a Reader permitted to preach which is a sacramental duty within the Mass of the Catechumens? Why also, in some quarters, are Readers referred to as Lay Readers when the very fact that they are Readers mean that that they are members of the Laity and not ordained? After all, one doesn't refer to Lay Deaconesses or Lay Pastoral Assistants or Lay Organists or Lay Acolytes.

In answer to the question of preaching, we must look at Churchmanship. This exercise of the Reader is largely Evangelical in its origins. In CofE Parishes where the Word supersedes the sacrament and Mattins replaces the Mass, the Reader has a unique character of leadership of its own. For the Catholic Parish where the Mass retains its centrality and importance, the preaching is done by one with the charism of Ordination since the Word is inextricably bound with the Holy Sacrament. In the Catholic Tradition, we are taught truly to eat our Words!

The use of the adjective "Lay" has more of a Catholic nuance to it. In the Catholic tradition, Lay Readers do not preach for the reasons outlined above, though they can read the Epistle. Archbishop Parker's Elizabethan injunction required Readers to declare "I shall not preache or interprete, but only read that which is appointed by public authoritie." This meant the Offices of Mattins and Evensong, though the Catholic Parish would have problems with Evensong owing to the blessing of the incense.

These days, most people can read the Offices themselves and so for public recitation in the absence of an Ordained Minister, the Reader acts as a "first" layman which begs the question why there is intensive theological training for someone to learn to read Offices, especially Offices which are on the decline within the CofE. In the Catholic tradition, Readers work outside the Chancel unless they are operating as acolytes.

So here we are. We have two orders of ministry. The Subdeacon, theologically trained, preparing for ordained ministry whose role only exists within the Chancel, and the Lay Reader, theologically trained, able to preach and teach but not necessarily bound for the Altar and whose ministry exists outside the Chancel. In these days, might there be some rediscovery in the Catholic Parish of a Subdiaconate which has its traditional form within the chancel and as Lay Reader outside? This would also resurrect the office of Deaconess too with regard to Reader Training for women which can then be nuanced to tailor to the unique ministry that the Deaconess offers and which is being lost in a relativistic society.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Comments and corrections are always appreciated.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Circuits in the Swimming Pool

I received this a comment to a previous post. I didn't publish it there on the grounds that it didn't fit the post to which it was appended. The poster remained anonymous, which is a shame.

The big national Pilgrimage to Walsingham organised by the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham took place today in the wooden barn-like structure that serves the Latin Rite Catholics as a church. As a rather disillusioned ex-Anglo-Catholic [now a traditionalist Catholic] I was looking forward to it and particuarly to see what elements of Anglican Patrimony and customs might be
incorporated into the Mass and procession. I was greatly isappointed. It was concelebrated in modern Roman style in nylon matching chasubles, the rite of Mass was the current New Rite of Paul VI with the proper sung to Missa de Angelis, full throatedly (so not very R.C.). There was one Anglican hymn Immortal Invisible and at the Offertory a rather slushly worship-song: Gifts of Bread and Wine. In all, a typical reasonably High Church Modern Roman Catholic service. The brochure was covered and filled with pictures of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, a number of references to Don Gobbi's Visions, and a Day of Divine Mercy. In the afternoon there was a weather-damaged procession to the Anglican shrine and a Sprinkling with Holy Well water took place. Alas, during this we were treated to a young lady singing a modern Roman Catholic worship song with a guitar. I left greatly disappointed wondering what elements of Anglican heritage, the "Patrimony" were going to be brought by these ex-Anglicans to Holy Church. They all seemed to be good, decent, dutiful modern Roman Catholic priests. What is the point of the Ordinariate ? Can someone explain ?

So why have I published this post? Largely because it is a cry from the heart. Perhaps, then, I am getting sentimental in my old age? Well, simply put, I know what it's like to be ignored and this is a cry from one who has become accustomed to being ignored by those rolling merrily on a bandwagon. That's not to say that I agree with the findings of my anonymous commentator. I was not on this Walsingham Pilgrimage and therefore cannot comment on the details mentioned here. If anyone can, then please use the ComBox provided.

One of the reasons I chose the Continuum over the Roman Catholic Church is because the Roman Catholic Parishes in my area were very much like the Parish that I spent 4 years trying to leave. Why swim the Tiber if the experience is no different from doing circuits of the Anglican Communion Municipal Swimming Pool?

This is one of the major factors in why I chose the Continuum over going to Rome either in the Ordinariate or through personal conversion. I saw no point in exchanging one Parish for another which was identical except for claims to following the Pope. What the Continuum offered me was different.

Well, I say different; I mean that the Continuum offered me nothing new whatsoever. In fact what it did offer me was the opportunity to rediscover what I had lost in the CofE - reverence and dignity, the Pax which was truly pacific rather than the Peace in which peace was destroyed in the ensuing melée. The Continuum offered me doctrinal stability and a greater degree of transparency than I found in either the CofE or the Roman Catholic Church. The latter two were adept at saying what the party line was and yet crossing their fingers when it came to toeing the party line. Those in the Roman Catholic Church were just as ready to cross their fingers when they declare their belief in Papal Infallibility and Transubstantiation as the CofE were in declaring their assent to the XXXIX articles and the Catholic creeds (especially the four marks of the Church!).

Of course, one might say that the Continuum is being as dishonest when it comes to its existence as a viable expression of the Church and will cite the many splits and separations as well as the veritable Alphabet Soup of Continuing Anglican Jurisdictions. Actually, I find that all the Continuing Anglicans that I’ve spoken with admit the situation quite readily and know that it is far from ideal. One can see that steps are being taken to remedy the situation: the APA (Anglican Province in America) has announced its acceptance of intercommunion with the ACA (Anglican Church in America). This was relayed via the Rt Rev Brian Marsh, president of the House of Bishops of the ACA. There are other such initiatives with UECNA and other bodies. This is not what I call dishonesty.

However, the fact of the matter is that, politically speaking, the Continuum is very new, not really more than 40 years old. That sort of puts the political situation in some degree of similitude to the 1560s and 1570s after the Anglo-Roman Schism. Our history books tell us how volatile the situation was in that period and it took some time to settle down, indeed perhaps it has never done really so.

Whilst the Anglican Continuum is doctrinally old and politically new, the CofE is politically old and doctrinally new and this is perhaps why it can do little from the fragmentation and haemorrhage of members that have produced the gloomy figures mentioned in General Synod. The Roman Catholic Church is itself finding problems in that there is a discrepancy between what the Western grass roots believe and want to believe and what the Magisterium pronounces as right belief.

This is where I do offer what little advice that I have to my anonymous commentator. Have patience!

If the Continuum is new at forty years old and is still in the process of formation, then the same is more than true of the Ordinariate. It is going to take some good time perhaps several decades for the expression of Anglican Patrimony to become apparent. However, the Anonymous Commentator has a point, and it’s a point I’ve touched upon earlier. What the Anonymous Commentator has just described is my objection to the phrase “former Anglican”. If the Ordinariate is populated by “former Anglicans” then what makes it different from being Roman Catholic? Another commentator, Jakian Thomist, whose comments are most assiduous and welcome, made the point that if by “Anglican” we mean some religious institution that accepts lay presidency, women clergy, practising homosexual clergy, atheist clergy, stout and pizza for the offertory, Ibiza-style rave Masses and communion for dogs, then the phrase “former Anglican” is reasonable though technically inaccurate. For that would mean that I, and many others, never were Anglican in the first place!

It is going to take time for what Anglican Patrimony there is in the Ordinariate to become apparent, and that’s the big challenge that faces the new Monsignors and the Anglicanorum Cœtibus hierarchy. They will have to convince Anglo-Catholics who will potentially form the second and future waves into the Ordinariate of just how they are preserving that Patrimony. While some may be happy to become Roman Catholics, others will be looking for that distinction. Others will not want to find themselves doing circuits in an episcopal piscine! The Anonymous Commentator is certainly justified in his/her comments that surely there should be something of the Anglican Patrimony apparent. One would hope that sixties folk-singer types have not found their way into a valid expression of the famous Anglican Choral Tradition!

The Ordinariate will have to show what it is that gives it a different parochial flavour from Roman Catholicism and what benefits there are from accepting the fullness of the Roman Doctrine as supplying what Anglicanism lacks.

Likewise, the Continuum has a lot of work to do if it wants to convince Anglo-Catholics in the CofE that it has what is necessary to preserve Anglican Doctrine and to sustain a stable environment in which parishes and communities can thrive. At present, the Continuum is small, but it is growing.

However, neither of these options may be sufficiently convincing at present, though it is difficult to see how remaining in the CofE is going to be tenable for folk who follow the doctrine that the Anglican Church has always until recently followed, namely the Catholic Faith. The grass is still the same green colour on all sides, though in some quarters the grass is brown and withering. It is going to take some time for the differences to become manifest. I therefore urge my Anonymous Commentator not to lose heart but to ensure that their views are heard, provided that they are couched in such a way as will build up the Ordinariate and offer support to its realisation of Anglicanism within the Holy See.

As for those of us in the Continuum, we must not lose heart either but bring plenty of ropes with which we can tie together catamarans, coracles, barges and barques and be careful with our steering so that, in these times of turbulence we can draw upon each other on a real river, rather than a swimming pool.

Saturday, July 16, 2011 it were a span long...

This is the wonderful setting by Orlando Gibbons of words from Psalm xxxviii (xxxix):

Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long : and mine age is even as nothing in respect of thee; and verily every man living is altogether vanity.
For man walketh in a vain shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain : he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.
And now, Lord, what is my hope : truly my hope is even in thee.

This version is sung about a fourth lower than I'm used to and in Tudor dialect, so has a certain quaintness about it, but nonetheless has that same word-power that much of Gibbons' works possess.

In the past, my low spirits have been lifted by the kind considerations of Fr Chadwick. This goodly priest is very much a Desert Father as he leads what amounts to an eremitical existence in a country that is proud of the secular nature of its government, its education and its everyday life - at least this is how I perceive the religious state of France to be. Having observed some very sad events within the Church in France (to wit, Thiberville) I find myself unable to shake off my interpretations above.

Lately, I've noticed the same sadness within the writings ( here and here ) of my Father in Christ and friend with which I myself have often wrestled. The questions he asks are very much the questions of the Psalmist in this Psalm.

Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days : that I may be certified how long I have to live.

Perhaps I should have linked to Greene's version or to Tomkins which begin with this verse rather than Gibbons who starts a verse later. My reasons will become apparent.

The whole psalm is pregnant with emotion, and it is a very complex emotion indeed. There are at least a couple of ways in which one can read it. Is it to be read in the fearfulness of one realising his mortality, or is it the cry of the world-weary. Again, in my interpretation it's "both-and" and not "either-or". One can imagine the psalmist beaten up by life, worrying about what's going to happen next, missing the past, sick of the present and fearing the future, wondering just how long his suffering is going to take.

At General Synod, the CofE has had some sober realisations thrust upon it making for gloomy reading: at the present rate of decline it will be defunct in 20 years and nothing seems to be abating this decline.

Truly, I am not smug about this for this represents a statement about society as a whole and what is faced by the established church is also faced by the Roman Catholics. It is also something for the Continuing Churches - the little coracles as I've called them in the past - to worry about. They may be small enough to Continue in name and function, they may also be small enough to be swamped by the tide of anti-religion and indifference.

Those of us who have found ourselves cut adrift by the movement of the mainstream have lost a great deal: the comfort of aesthetics of building and music. the comfort of a short walk to the nearest Parish Church, the comfort of being able to trust the words of visible "authorities" and "spokespersons" who claim to speak on behalf of all Christians, but who do not. There is much discomfort out there and, let's be honest, very little hope in what can be done. It is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Already I have seen a congregation more than decimated by the crippling illness suffered by one of my brothers. Ours is a small church, and, let's be frank, it teeters. Do I still have hope?

Fr Chadwick is perfectly right to be sober here. We cannot allow ourselves to be falsely optimistic - we can waste our time sitting with a false hope in our hearts.
However, my friend raises a very important point. Let's just look at the things that will remain forever: Faith, Hope and Love.

St James reminds us that Faith cannot exist unless it is in some way practiced. Without some manifestation of our Faith in what we do, what proof is there that it actually exists? Likewise, it is in the very words and actions of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that Love itself has to be worked on and, if we claim to have love for another, we had better demonstrate this actively if we are to convince others, and especially the Creator, that we have Love for Him and for our Neighbour.

It stands to reason (namely by induction albeit on the example of two quantities) that Hope itself is not a vague emotion which has no substance but is born out of the crucible of one's wrestle with God and with one's very self. Blind optimism is simply not hope. I seem to remember a French aphorism:

L'Espérance est une petite fille de rien du tout.
Hope is a little girl of no importance.

I'd love to know where this comes from, as I've forgotten! As I see in my beloved nieces, little girls tend to grow up very quickly if they are allowed to grow up well. As for importance? In whose eyes?

If the Church is going to recover in this new age of "no importance", then it must work at its Hope.

And now, Lord, what is my hope : truly my hope is even in thee

First, in order to combat the danger of institutional acedia, the Church must continue as best it can. This may mean just going through the motions when the depression is black, but the fact that the act is taking place regardless forms a basis for the continuing presence of Holiness in dark lands.

Second, quietly and surreptitiously, it must continue to provoke, and cajole and put stones in the shoes who would just walk by regarding the Church as nothing, like they did Her (and their) Saviour. It doesn't have to be much, a bow of the head when someone utters the Holy Name even, nay especially, when it's uttered as an expletive, a crossing of oneself before eating in the refectory at work, a badge on the lapel declaring membership of one's jurisdiction.

We can and must do anything at all to prevent ourselves from just passing into oblivion. Little actions of ritual will remind us of Whom we worship and raise the odd eyebrow.

Third, it is best not to fix ourselves on what we perceive to be God's method of lightening our darkness. Humanity has a very consistent record when it comes to predict the way God will act in the future - namely poor! As a Benedictine, my Holy Founder reminds us never to despair of the mercy of God.

And now, Lord, what is my hope : truly my hope is even in thee

The only source of our hope can be in Christ who is no tame God! As Horatius Bonar writes:

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till traveling days are done.

Notice how that Hope is contingent on doing something, some activity to raise a head heavy and bowed with the cares of living. To look to Jesus is not easy, and if anyone says that it is then they are probably at that wonderful first flush of Faith and not yet experienced in the Long, Dark Night of the Soul! We also know that walking in the light of life without wandering off is horrendously difficult.

If I am honest, I am filled with hope for my new diocese. I don't want to seem glib here, as there are some enormous obstacles for us to face. However, there is much potential for our growth. It is true that our priests are on the elderly side and, sad to relate, one of them has but a short time left with us. It is also true that the diocese is small, but I see younger folk, I see men offering themselves for the priesthood and I see congregations committed to doing what they can to present "business as usual". The potential is there, and the hope is there and one should never despair of the Mercy of God.

So, why the version of Gibbons? Well, listen again at the last verse.

And now, Lord, what is my hope : truly my hope is even in thee

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Faces, Facets, Factions and Fractions

Think on this. At your next birthday, invite all of your friends and family to one big party and allow them to mingle - I dare you! Some of you may already have suffered something similar in an occasion called Your Wedding.

Is that something that makes you comfortable? You might see the prospect of having all your work colleagues, your family, your in-laws, your old school friends, your neighbours, et c, really enjoyable. You'd be happy to let them mingle and discuss how they know you, sharing stories about you and listening to how others perceive you.

For some of us, this would be a very difficult thing to allow to happen. It would be a more intense sensation of that nervousness and trepidation that one has in meeting the prospective mother and father in law for the first time. Meeting the possible in-laws raises questions of "will I be accepted?", "will they approve?", and "what if I say the wrong thing?" However, to have everyone who knows you find out about just how others know you will certainly raise these questions again along with "will anyone still like me after they find out who I really am?"

What will happen if Great Auntie Ethel who has always had you down as a "nice sober child" suddenly finds out about the incident which ended up with your underwear being displayed from a flagpole on the Dover-Ostend ferry? What recriminations will result when your work colleagues find out that you've watched Watership Down 145 times and cried every time that the Black Rabbit comes to take Hazel into the Afterlife, and that you still sniffle when you hear Bright Eyes sung?

Now, the remedy might sound simple - ALWAYS be yourself, however this raises the question of "who are you?" and this is a question to which one is always turning all of one's life. I've said before that we can only learn who we truly are from theose around us. It is your friends and enemies, your family and strangers who can paint a picture of who you are from without. We cannot truly say who we are because we only have experience of ourselves within. Likewise, those around us cannot say who we truly are because they only have experience of us without.

It is quite natural for us to behave differently around different groups of people. At tea with the Archbishop, one will endeavour to eat one's cucumber sandwich noiselessly with decorum and bearing an expression of impassive tranquillity. At the pub with your chums, it is necessary to down a pint whenever Arsenal actually win a game. However, what if the Archbishop is your chum? What if you are the Archbishop? What if the Archbishop supports Arsenal? What if the Archbishop supports West Ham?!

But think: does the Archbishop ever get to see people beyond his close family and friends act naturally rather than just as stiff consumers of cucumber sandwiches and stilted conversations about the weather and that awfully sad business about the church roof?

Of course, the circumstances in which we meet people are different. The workplace has different rules different stresses, different tensions and different rituals then the Church pew, and both are markedly different from the pub table. It is only natural, then, that we are different in these situations, because the expectations and rules that are imposed upon us are different and we react accordingly. At home, we live by our own rules and it is in this our sacrosanctum that we reinforce to ourselves the illusion of whom we believe ourselves to be.

As we react to these diffrently nuanced societies, we can tend to harden into masks, spiritual and psychological carapaces which protect our vulnerabilities peculiar to the situation in which we find ourselves. This raises the question of whether the protection that the mask affords is true protection or more of a constraint to our existence and development as human beings. If we surround ourselves with people wearing the same mask then it is likely that the atrophy of our face will occur more rapidly as we begin to fear being anything different from the crowd in which we find ourselves.

It seems to me that the more rigid masks we have, the more that we let them calcify on our faces, the more we can fragment ourselves and set up self-conflict as the rules that govern one part of our life impinge upon another, or upon the soft, central figure hidden away in the sacrosanctum. Our faces become less facets of our personality and more contributors to the fraction of our personality whereupon we lapse into self-contradiction. How many times have we seen that with leaders in society and the well respected? How much hypocrisy have we seen?

Of course, a hypocrite was originally a Greek actor who merely acted out the character his mask portayed. Likewise, prominent figures have the same problem in society. Many such folk have fallen badly, and it isn't always their fault. Sometimes, simple human frailty cannot take the demands of the assumed persona which society demands. They try to become the mask, but like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the existence of what lies behind the mask engenders fragmentation of the personality.

At some point, we are all going to come into contact with One who sees beyond all our masks. God can see through every layer of our being and make an accurate judgment on who we are, because when we see Him as we is, we shall be like Him if we have loved Him. There is no mask to hide behind and we shall stand before Him utterly naked with nothing to cover up who we really are.

But then we are dealing with a God who Himself was stripped utterly naked before He was crucified. It's not as if He doesn't understand human vulnerability. It's not as if He wills the destruction of hypocrites, otherwise none of us would stand a chance. This is a God Who has told us that if we love other people genuinely, then no matter what mask we wear, our true selves will shine through because we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He really is.

We will continue to create and wear our masks and they will largely protect us from our surroundings - this is only natural. If we can, however, ensure that our Christian Faith is genuine and shines through each of our masks, and appreciate that there is more to the person opposite than the mask that they present, then we are in less danger of personal fragmentation because we are held together by the person of Christ. If we forgive hypocrisy, then we will be forgiven hypocrisy - it stands to reason. Ultimately, we have to prepare ourselves for the day when our masks will be gone.

What really lies beneath? Do you want to see?