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Sunday, August 13
Sunday 11 a.m. Eucharist
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Thursday, August 17
Thursday 5:15 p.m. Evensong
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Listen to Featured Sermons

Sunday, August 13
Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Canon Mark E. Stanger
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
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The Rev. Canon Mark E. Stanger’s sermon manuscript will be available soon.

Sunday, August 6
Last Message for My Son
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
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Last Message for My Son

You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter).

 

On September 9, 2001 full of hope I stood in the pulpit for my first sermon at our new church. I was about to preach about falling in love. But in the silence after the prayer, and before I could say a word, our then two year old son sitting in the back pew called out in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear. “Daddy!” In that unscripted moment I said back, “I love you too Micah.”

Since then I have been blessed to speak about Jesus to our children in sermons almost every Sunday of their lives. Over these years I have always remained grateful for this amazing gift. In a world where God is such a problem for so many people I get to speak about what I love most. This happens in a setting that is unhindered and undeterred by the norms or discomfort of secular society.

During that time I have preached some terrible sermons (I don’t know why but some of my worst have been about films). I have preached many not-yet-finished sermons that I didn’t really understand until a few days later. But there have also been those magical moments with gracious people sitting in the congregation like you are today. They looked interested and encouraged something to come out of me that can only be described as a gift from somewhere else.

So many times God has been with us in the sense of Ellen’s preaching prayer when she says, “Between the words that are spoken and the words that are heard may the God’s spirit be present.”

Today is my last chance, my last sermon with him as a child under our roof. In a week he turns eighteen and leaves for college. I have to let him go into the company of other preachers, to learn from other teachers.

It is so hard to know what to say. How do you prepare someone for the ugliness and cruelty of the world? How do you alert your child to the extraordinary holiness that also arises out of our daily experience? What is the wisdom that he will need in the future?

I suppose that it begins with a picture of what it means to be human. Ray Hart wrote a book called Unfinished Man and the Imagination.[1] The implication of the title is that through the power of imagination we are constantly being finished by our connections with each other and God.

We are creatures primarily directed by our unconscious life, by the mysterious strivings, longings and fears that we rarely can even name. The moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt writes that we are ninety percent chimp. By this he means that we are extraordinarily selfish primates, looking out for ourselves first but immersed in “relentless competition of groups with other groups.” Haidt says that we are also ten percent honeybee. In the sense that we, “long to be part of something larger and nobler than ourselves.”[2] I believe that there is more than this however.

This Thursday in the Cathedral lunchroom Mark Stanger talked about two competing Christian views of our situation. On the one hand there is the idea that the world is a minefield of evil, full of dangers. We have to avoid being trapped and damaged, ruined so badly that we loose ourselves. This picture focuses on the cruelty of the world and the unkindness that we recognize in our own hearts.

In a way we are in the impossible situation of being frenemies with God (that is, friend – enemies like Aaron Burr). Karl Barth (1886-1968) argues that creation does not come first as if it were separate from redemption. Our alienation from God is no further away from us than our creation. In every moment we depend for our existence on the same God that we reject through our thoughts and actions.

Barth writes, “To be sinners means that we have come to a place where our existence is absolutely inconceivable because at this place it can be only a plunge into nothing, where our existence can be understood only as an event of inconceivable kindness….”[3] Another way to express this would be to say that sin cuts off the branch that we are sitting on.

For many years I have been working on a chapter in a book called The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century Christian Thought. It finally arrived in the mail last week. I wrote about changing views of nature. My story begins with the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). In his later philosophy Kant explored the idea that we do not experience the world as it actually is (the noumena) but only as our senses and brain reconstruct it (the phenomena).[4]

Kant also cared deeply about the freedom of human actions. For him what we know about God is ultimately based on morality, on our experience of the social world.[5] By the end of the nineteenth century most Christians in most places concerned themselves almost entirely with the social world. I feel this especially when other kinds of Christians talk about what they believe. This picture of faith as relief from sin has an enormous power.

But as Mark Stanger says our tradition also offers another view of the human condition. In his words this picture of the world is “miraculous.” With a mysterious smile he quoted the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1884-1889). “The world is charged with the grandeur of God. / It will flame out like shook foil… For all this, nature is never spent / There lives the dearest freshness deep down things…/ Because the Holy Ghost over the bent / World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”[6]

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, a feast dedicated to this second kind of faith. In my experience Anglicans care about sin and redemption but our hymns, art, culture, history and the spirit that animates us keep us from thinking that this is the only thing.

On Thursday night at evensong we sang Hymn 46. It conveys this sensibility. The second verse goes like this, “Now all the heavenly splendor breaks forth in starlight tender from myriad worlds unknown; and we, this marvel seeing, forget our selfish being for joy of beauty not our own.”[7] You might have known this, “joy of beauty not our own.”

I imagine the disciples did long after his death in recalling the joy of being with Jesus. Jesus goes to a mountaintop to pray with his friends Peter, James and John. As he prays his image (eidos) changes and his clothes flash with the whiteness of lightning. Then the great prophets Moses and Elijah speak to him. Strangely Jesus’ friends feel weighed down by sleep but manage to stay awake. When Jesus, Moses and Elijah are done talking Peter says that he wants to build dwellings for them. Suddenly clouds cover them, the disciples are terrified and a voice declares Jesus to be God’s son (Lk. 9).

I want to point out one striking thing about the story. Although this may have been one of the most important moments of their lives, the disciples almost missed it by being asleep.

This week after yoga Sadvi Bhagawati Saraswati and I were on a panel together being interviewed.[8] The first question was for her and it went like this. “Why are you a spiritual leader in India when it would have been so much easier for you to stay here and be an Episcopalian minister?”

Sadvi told the  story of how she woke up. She grew up in the U.S. attended Stanford as an undergraduate and was a twenty-five year old psychology doctoral student when on a lark she decided to go to India. There she had an experience of God that changed her life. She did not choose this. She felt compelled. She said it was as if she had been walking along a beach picking up seashells when all of a sudden she came upon someone offering her diamonds instead. It was obvious to her that she should throw away all the seashells so that she could carry the jewels.

Every day you too are being offered diamonds. But too often we just sleep through it. Instead of waking up to transfiguration we are obsessed with how our bodies look, our accomplishments, how others perceive us. We are haunted by regrets about the past. We refuse to live in the present because of our dreams of the future.

This week I listened to a Dear Sugars Podcast about the struggles of teenagers. One twenty-year-old girl had been captain of her high school cross-country team, valedictorian, totally in control of her grades and weight. Everyone always commented about how beautiful she was. By the time she reached college she realized that she had an eating disorder. What struck me most about the broadcast was how much she and the hosts, and all of us, care so much about what people thought of us in high school.

What will it take for us to wake up out of this dreamlike existence, for us to stop trying to always win other people’s approval through our accomplishments and our appearance (from trying to win over even God)? How can we wake up to see the moments of transfiguration happening all around us?[9] The Apostle Paul writes to his friends, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead and Christ will shine upon you” (Eph. 5).

Something like this happened to me this weekend. My son and I went surfing at Bolinas for one last time before he leaves for college. On a perfectly still, impossibly temperate summer day we passed along the edge of the mirror-like lagoon and I felt an intense surge of emotion. Later we traded perfect glassy waves, just the two of us, resting only to watch the pelicans glide past. Above the rim of hills the sky, with distant high clouds and closer mists, seemed infinitely beautiful and mysterious.

In that moment it seemed like God said, “as far as you can see from Pedro Point in San Mateo County to Duxbury Reef, this is the world given for you.”

The last sermon is done and I can hardly believe that this season of our life is over. What I want for my son is the same thing I want for all of us. In terms of the first picture of faith, I pray that we are forces of compassion, justice and goodness, that through kindness our lives will build God’s kingdom. But I also pray for the second religious vision. I pray that we will recognize that the “world is charged with the grandeur of God.” I pray we will seek and discover “the joy of beauty not our own.

[1] Ray L. Hart, Unfinished Man and the Imagination (NY: Herder & Herder, 1968).

[2] Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (NY: Pantheon, 2012) 220.

[3] “To be sinners, as we are shown to be in the revelation of Jesus Christ, means that we have separated ourselves from the One without whom we would not be even in this separation and yet, separated from whom, we cannot be in any true or proper sense. To be sinners means that we have come to a place where our existence is absolutely inconceivable because at this place it can be only a plunge into nothing, where our existence can be understood only as an event of inconceivable kindness, or it cannot be understood at all.” Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics Volume 1, Part One Tr. G. W. Bromiley (NY: T&T Clark, 1956) 444.

[4] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1965).

[5] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1993).

[6] Gerard Manley Hopkins, Poems, 3rd Edition (Oxford University Press, 1948) 70.

[7] Hymn 46 from The 1980 Hymnal. Words Paul Gerhard, translated by Robert Seymour Bridges and others, Music, “O Welt, ich muss dich lassen, melody attributed to Heinrich Isaac (1450?-1517); harmony Johann Sebastian Bach.

[8] Tuesday 1 August 2017.

[9] The second element in the story that seems odd to me is Peter’s offer to make three dwellings (called skēnas in Greek). This is the same word that John uses in his prologue when he talks about the Word dwelling among us. Matthew writes that Peter did not know what he was saying. And yet I have a sense for why he did. I think that this refers to our longing to hold on to these moments of transfiguration. We want to stay on the mountain, to remain in that moment of unity with God forever. We can be so overcome by the beauty of holiness that we do not trust that God will give us this experience again.

Listen to Past Sermons

Sermons from the last six months are listed below. Older sermons can be heard through iTunes podcast.

Sunday, May 28
Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Clark
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The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Clark’s sermon manuscript will be available soon.

Wednesday, May 24
An Unknown God
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
Sermon from Wednesday evening's service of The Vine
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An Unknown God

“Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way” (Acts 17).

 

Let me quote from a child’s letter to God. “Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked you for anything before. You can look it up. [Signed] Jennifer.”[1]

It’s hard for us to even remember what childhood is like. Once the world felt new to us, a day just happened and we accepted it the way that it was, fresh, strange, interesting and sometimes a bit frightening. But eventually adulthood fell across our faces like a veil, and the world and God seem more distant now.[2]

As a child I lived near Estabrook Forest in Concord, Massachusetts and visited there often. In the twentieth century maple and oak trees had already taken over. Now nothing remains of the puritan farms that flourished there except a few empty cellar holes and low stone walls that seem to run at random through the woods.

One Thanksgiving during graduate school my parents visited my wife and me. We all went back to Estabrook on a cold day long after all the leaves had fallen from the trees. That afternoon we had the hearts of children. We threw rocks on the partially frozen pond and the sounds of the vibrating ice echoed off the hills.

I assumed that my parents were paying attention and they probably thought the same about me. We made our way back toward the car at sunset in the suddenly unfamiliar woods. In a ridiculously short time night had fallen and we were lost. You couldn’t see your own hand in front of your face. As we stumbled along in the darkness we kept incorrectly thinking that we could see lights in the distance. Hours later, feeling sheepish, we came out at Middlesex School and a teacher drove us, a long way back to our car.

Sometimes life feels like being lost in those dark woods. We wonder if we’re on the right path. We ask ourselves if we have made good decisions. We worry about where we’ll end up.

In the Wim Wender’s film Der Himmel über Berlin (released as Wings of Desire, 1987), invisible angels can hear the thoughts of the human beings they watch over. In one scene two angels walk through an outwardly silent library as we hear a cacophony of thoughts. I’ll never forget one person’s worry as he asks, “What will happen to me?”

I think that this feeling lies behind the Athenian’s altar to an unknown God. There is a legend that the Greeks built it during a time of unrelenting plague. They felt desperate and reached out to anything, to anyone that they hoped could help them. They slaughtered sheep on an altar to the unknown. They gave a life for the hope that they might live.

We too make sacrifices to our own unknown gods, sometimes we even sacrifice out children. We act as if money, intelligence, our career, good looks or popularity can protect us when we feel lost. We give up something of ourselves for these things. Because we feel afraid, we are not what we could be.

The philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was one of the most notable figures of the seventeenth century. At the age of twelve he independently proved the equivalent of Euclid’s first 32 theorems of geometry. He invented a calculating machine at age 19. His discoveries in the natural sciences and especially in mathematics and probability theory have deeply influenced how we see the world.

Pascal’s religious thought was written partially in response to his older contemporary René Descartes (1596-1650). From this distant vantage point we have almost completely forgotten the devastation of The Thirty Years War. The German States lost a third of their population.

Descartes wanted to establish a basis for believing in God that didn’t appeal to the religious doctrines that first led to the wars between Protestants and Roman Catholics. He tried to prove that we can know about God through universal reason. Descartes began by trying to doubt everything and then famously said, “I think therefore I am.” For him, this very ability to think necessarily means that there is a God.

Pascal was a fervent Christian but he disagreed with this. He believed that, “It is the heart that perceive[s] God and not the reason.”[3] Over history some great Christian thinkers believed that we experience God mainly through our intelligence. Others believe that we mostly meet God through our feelings.

To the crowds in Athens Paul says, “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hand,… he gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations, so that they would search for God and perhaps feel for him and find him – though he indeed is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17).

Paul describes my own experience. He says, “In [God] we live and move and have our being.” For me God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Communion and baptism are the signs that God is always with us. We cannot do anything for God or win his love as a reward for what we do. But through Jesus we can become adopted as his children.

The English novelist Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) wrote that, “we breathe in with the air of our times,” “the conflict between an attraction to the Holy and the disbelief in it.”[4] This is in part because our ordinary picture of the world has not caught up with what we are learning about it scientifically. We inhabit a surprising and mysterious universe at the levels of the microcosmos and the macrocosmos. Today we have more reasons to realize that our physiology, our finitude, mean that we cannot experience anything as it really is. We are in God’s hands

We have a personal experience of God through our prayer. During my ninth grade year our English class went up to Ashland Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival. That night we camped out by a lake. I don’t know why I did it, but alone in my tent that night I prayed. I cannot even remember what I asked for or how I thanked God, but the next morning I woke before sunrise to a transformed world.

As I walked along the shore of the lake, I felt an overwhelming peace in my heart. The shining water, songbirds, and new spring leaves all seemed to say one thing to me, “All of this is being created by God.” I knew a kind of certainty that I will probably never experience about anything else in my life.

I don’t always think to do it, but whenever I turn to God, something personal in the universe eventually answers my call. Almost every day I experience the way that prayer changes the world.

We experience evil, dishonesty, suffering and cruelty. But when my children wake up from a bad dream in the middle of the night, I can truthfully say to them, “everything will be alright.” I know that much as I love them, God loves them even more.

In conclusion, we can’t go back to the faith we see in a child’s immediate experience of the world, but neither do we have to accept the false consolations of an unknown god. God, the creator of worlds, libraries, maple trees and quarks is too big to be bullied. God is also too close to our hearts to avoid for long.

Even when we feel afraid and long for a kind of security that this life cannot give, Jesus promises that the spirit of God’s truth will always dwell in us. Even when we feel far from that truth, we are members of the holy church and this means we will never be lost from our true home.

[1] Email from Fritz Schneider on 4 May 2005.

[2] Like Rainer Maria Rilke “The Grown-up” in Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke. Ed. & Tr. Stephen Mitchell (NY: Modern Library, 1995), 37.

[3] Blaise Pascal, Pensées Number 424. However, for other people who did not experience God in their hearts he described what has become known as “Pascal’s Wager.” He asked his reader to imagine trying to decide on whether God exists or not and compares this to flipping a coin. If God does not exist and you believe he does there will not be much harm done. But if God does exist and you do not believe this would be a total disaster. In his words, “if you win, you win all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Bet therefore that God is without hesitating.”

[4] Paul Elie, The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage (NY: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2003), 155.

Sunday, May 21
Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
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The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw’s sermon manuscript will be available soon.

Friday, May 19
Eco Justice Sermon
Preacher: The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry
Sermon from Friday's Eco Justice Eucharist
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Thursday, May 18
Evensong Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Canon David Forbes
Sermon from Evensong with Institution and Installation of the Canon Precentor
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Sunday, May 14
The Way, the Truth and the Life
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
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Sunday 14 May 2017 Mother’s Day

The Way, the Truth and the Life

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (Jn. 14).

This morning in three parts I want to consider the gift of Jesus. What does it mean for him to tell his closest friends that he is the way, the truth and the life.

1. The Way. In Marilynne Robinson’s early novel Housekeeping a mother drops off her two young daughters Ruth and Lucille with graham crackers on their grandmother’s front porch. Then she deliberately drives her car off a cliff. At first the grandmother takes care of them then, after she dies, two great aunts do. They in turn are glad to hand off this responsibility to the girl’s formerly homeless aunt.

As the girls grow up they feel such a deep longing for their mother. At first, it pulls them together but eventually they become completely estranged. In their last summer together the two find themselves lost overnight, in the moonless wilderness by a lake.  This becomes a kind of metaphor for their whole childhood. “It seemed that we were bewilderingly lost in a landscape, that with any light at all would be wholly familiar.”[1]

Near the end Ruth writes, “Memory is the sense of loss, and loss pulls us after it. God Himself was pulled after us into the vortex we made when we fell… [Jesus] was so sharply lacked and so powerfully remembered that his friends felt Him beside them as they walked along the road and saw someone cooking fish on the shore and knew it to be him…”

Ruth goes on in a way that might sound like the way you feel about your mother or your childhood. “There is so little to remember of anyone – an anecdote, a conversation at table. But every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become flesh, and that the wanderers will find a way home, and that the perished, whose lack we always feel, will step through the door finally and stroke our hair with dreaming habitual fondness, not having meant to keep us waiting so long.”[2]

This longing, this loneliness, this sense of loss, sometimes may be how we feel about God. Perhaps the biggest problem of religion is that we all have such different experiences of the same events. For some the abiding presence of God is the most obvious thing about our life. Others search and never even find a trace of the Divine.

The twentieth century Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) writes that we can never experience God, the creator and ground of worlds, as God truly is. We would not expect a housefly landing on a page of my son’s calculus textbook to learn the quadratic formula. But comprehending God is more impossible for us than this.

We are thoroughly physical creatures and, according to Barth, God must become a concrete thing for us to understand. But as soon as this happens, what we are experiencing is not quite the same thing as God.

As a result, every experience of God’s Word both reveals and conceals something at the same time. When God speaks to us it can never be set apart from the other events in our lives. We experience God only in what Barth calls, “the garment of creaturely reality.” He writes, “[God] will not and cannot unveil himself except by veiling Himself… the divine givenness of the Word of God… also fixes our own limits.”[3]

This is the mystery of God and the mystery of who we are to ourselves. We are like children lost in the dark and that is the reason we rely on Jesus as the way to God.

2. The Truth. But this brings us to the second part – the truth. John 14:6 may be one of the most misunderstood sentences in human history. At the last meal that Jesus shares with his very closest friends he says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14).

We have been told countless times this means that unless you believe in Jesus, you will not go to heaven. I disagree completely with this interpretation. On Friday morning at Archbishop Neiderauer’s funeral in St. Mary’s Cathedral I sat between two friends who are rabbis. Before the gospel this line was read and I wondered what they were thinking. I wanted so badly to have the chance to tell them what I believe this means.

Let me explain my reasoning because ultimately we all have to draw our own conclusions about this issue. Let’s begin with the context. Jesus and his friends are not talking about people of other religions or even no religion. Jesus is not answering the question, “who can go to heaven.”
Instead, he is talking to friends with “troubled hearts.” They aren’t asking if there are Hindus in heaven, they are saying, “will I be okay?” And so Jesus reassures them about the many dwelling places for them in God, that he is preparing the way for them.
Thomas and Philip clearly feel troubled and ask him pointed questions. Thomas says, “How can we know the way?” Philip implores Jesus saying, “Show us the Father, and we will be satisfied” (Jn. 14). These are questions that come from their fear and doubt. I think they have in mind some kind of secret knowledge, like a password, as if “the way” is a kind of road map or written plan.

Jesus feels frustrated with them because knowing the truth about God is more like the way that we know a person than it is how we might know a map, a plan or a fact. In effect Jesus says, “you are asking for a fact but what matters most is our relationship, that I am standing right here with you.”[4]

The twentieth century Jewish philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965) distinguishes between an “I-It” relationship between us and objects in the world and I-Thou relationships that we have with other people and with God.[5] Jesus calls us to be his friends, to have a continuing relationship with him through prayer.

For me, the irony is that so many people today have read this in exactly the opposite way. In place of seeing Jesus himself as the way for his disciples to reunite with the Father, they have substituted a statement about believing in Jesus. They make everything contingent upon a dogma rather than the freedom of God. Jesus and the disciples are not just talking about heaven. It is about wholeness and health right now. This comes from directing our life towards God and feels like the difference between life and death.[6]

3. The Life. This brings me to my last section. Jesus says, “I am the life.” The Greek word is zoē like our word for zoology. In 1995 the MIT professor Nicholoas Negroponte predicted how the Internet would soon transform humanity by matching news articles and videos with our tastes and personality. He called this “The Daily Me.” Today every time we click or share something online we communicate what we like, and restrict what we will see in the future.[7]

It is human nature to want to surround ourselves with people who share our perspective, just as it is to avoid those who disagree with or upset us. Today technology vastly amplifies that impulse. We know what a bubble is. We see its effects playing out in our political life.

The life Jesus promises is not The Daily Me, not isolation from the world. Jesus calls us to know and to love our neighbors, to open ourselves to the unexpected and new for the sake of others. Jesus shows us how we can be the way that God blesses the world, just as he did, in forgiving the very people who were putting him to death.

This week at the San Francisco Interfaith Council monthly breakfast John Trasviña the Dean of USF Law School spoke about his fear that beloved traditions and practices of our democracy are under attack. He cited the firing of the Director of the FBI, executive orders on immigration, attacks on the judiciary, scientists and the press.[8] This might be the time when Jesus’ life becomes even more evident.

The theologian David Bently Hart (1965-) writes, “Christ’s… is a truth that is only made manifest in being suppressed; its gesture is that of the gift, which is given even in being rejected; and so, on the cross, Christ makes the sheer violence that underlies the economies of a worldly truth transparent to itself, and opens up a different order of truth…”[9]

Last week at the Forum a gentle ethicist from Santa Clara named Tom Plante described life as a potluck. Each of us has a completely unique gift to contribute to it (mine is marshmallow yams). For this week’s homework ask yourself two questions: what is my unique contribution and how can I deliver it in a way that it can be received?

In this world in which there is so little to remember of those who we have lost and God can seem hidden from our sight, Jesus is the way. When we take false comfort in tribalism and manipulate facts to realize our longing for control, Jesus introduces us to the truth. As modern life with its Daily Me presents a greater proliferation of ways to drown in narcissism Jesus shows us the way of life.

Brothers and sisters the gift of Christ is intimacy with God. Let me close with a final quote from David Bentley Hart.

“We are music moved to music… Creation is… a partaking in the inexhaustible goodness of God… its ceaseless flow of light and shadow, constancy and change, mirrors both the “music” of God’s ordering words and the incomprehensibility of his changeless nature, while the restless soul, immersed in the spectacle of God’s glory, is drawn without break beyond the world to the source of its beauty, to embrace the infinite.”[10]

[1] Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (NY: Picador, 1980), 130

[2] Ibid., 194-5.

[3]  Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics Vol. I.1 tr. G. W. Bromiley (NY: Continuum, 1936), 165.

[4] D. Mark Davis, “Incarnational Truth vs. Propositional Truth,” Left Behind and Loving It, 8 May 2017. http://leftbehindandlovingit.blogspot.com

[5] Martin Buber, Ich und Du (1923).

[6] “Salvation is not to be construed as going to heaven after physical death; it is recovering human health and wholeness by exiting from the cave of non-being at Jesus call and being unbound by one’s bystanders.” Herman C. Waetjen, The Gospel of the Beloved Disciple: A Work in Two Editions (NY: T&T Clark, 2005), 339n.

[7] Dan Heischmann, “The Daily Me,” The National Association of Episcopal Schools Weekly Meditation, 8 May 2017.

[8] John Trasviña, San Francisco Interfaith Breakfast, 11 May 2017.

[9] “… a different story, one told anew and with ever greater power every time violence is employed to silence it.” David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s, 2003), 333.

[10] Ibid., 195.

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