Motherly Love and Christian Piety

While reading Augustine’s Confessions this summer I, as he wanted his reader to do, found myself comparing my struggles, doubts, triumphs, and story to Augustine’s.

In one sense, his life is very relatable. Running from God in selfishness. Hiding our sins in shame. Turning our hearts stubbornly away from truth but instead towards pet sins as they slowly devour us from the inside. And finally, breathlessly, in dizzying relief, spinning around to find Him there, gently pursuing us.

It was all there. The Christian life. The history of sin, initial conversion, and daily struggle.

There was one thing, however, that was nagging at me. Yes, although with his own words Augustine was confessing to be just like us – the foremost sinner (1 Tim. 10:15), there was still something that I couldn’t quite relate to. Augustine is viewed as a hero of the faith, a leader in theology and philosophy, and in many traditions, a saint. I am not these things. I never will be these things. I am a daughter of the King, champion of the Kingdom, and warrior against the evil forces in this world, but the odds are, I will never recognized in any significant way by the Church. Continue reading “Motherly Love and Christian Piety”

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To the Choirmaster

The Psalms are collection of powerful poems, teeming with emotion and theology, rich with expression, and, I believe, inexhaustible in meaning. I don’t always think about this, however. In the past I have found myself turning to the Psalms when I “need to” do a devotional, and I want something quick, understandable, and easy. Rather than savoring each unique Psalm, I find myself viewing them as repetitive iterations of each other.

Although it’s good that I find myself reading Psalms frequently, it’s less than profitable that this turns into a mindless activity for me. Instead, I have been recently convicted of being a informed, intentional, and regular reader of the Psalms. There are three reason that we (I) should read Psalms on the reg. Continue reading “To the Choirmaster”

God’s myth

I used to think that every story in the Bible was historical. Abraham came out of the land of Ur. Moses parted the Red Sea. David was a king of Israel. As I learn more about the Old Testament, I’m persistently faced with the perplexing suggestion that these stories may not be completely true. Some are historical legends, with strains of truth and layers of tradition woven together. Others are folklore, expressing truths about the Israelite’s God and defining the Israelite identity.  A daring few could even be categorized as fictional.

Such propositions startle me. If something is fictional, how can it be scripture, the inspired word of God, infallible, with truths for me? I’ve come to enjoy good literature, and have become comfortable gently teasing out truths about the human condition and honest questions about the world, even in secular works. I never thought that I could approach scriptures that way, though. It wasn’t until I revisited C.S. Lewis’ views on the connection of myth and Christianity that I came to understand that Biblical literature can be read similarly. Continue reading “God’s myth”

Sanctus

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Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua
Hosanna in excelsis!

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Dan Forrest on ‘Sanctus’ in his ‘Requiem for the Living.’

‘It’s only after recognizing the Lamb of God that we can then turn, in this narrative, to the Sanctus. It becomes a response to the Agnus Dei, instead of prelude to it as in the normal liturgical order. Interestingly, I see the phrase “heaven and earth are full of Thy glory” as not merely a worship moment, but actually a part of the Divine answer to the problem of pain. Continue reading “Sanctus”