Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Incarnational Theology.

Frank Weston, Bishop of Zanzibar.

Archbishop Rowan Williams is recieved into St Albans Holborn, London, before giving Pontificial Benediction, one of the truest expressions of the incarnation.

I gave a little talk last night concerning incarnational theology and how my subscribing to that type of theology informs my pastoral care. It ruffled one or two feathers, it seems, particularly my insistence that the ministry of the seven sacraments is an essential part of incarnational theology and that my pastoral care understands ministry as an embodied experience of grace, for the minister and the recipient. God becomes present in the temporal, through the sacraments, to heal, sustain, guide and reconcile humanity and to embody Christ in the direct as well as the Church as a whole. My wide view is that of those of us who subscribe to the theory of 'The Body and Society', that we are all members of the body of Christ, which has, since roman days, embedded itself deeply into the structures of the World, waiting, often, only to be refound. In a closer context comes my adherance to Anglo Catholic Socialism, incarnating this Heavenly Body into local society and making it visible, to a very local, Parish context of being, with the whole community, a part of that body, or 'little Christs' as Martin Luther has it. This model shows Christ already at work, through us all, in the local and wider community and puts the ethos on the believing body to be exemplars, in action, art, prayer, sacraments, media, teaching and many other ways, of the Incarnation in our lives. I finished with a wonderful quote from Frank weston, Bishop of Zanzibar, which I reproduce here...

'You cannot claim to know Jesus in the Altar if you do not recognise Him in the slum. If you say that an Anglo Catholic has a right to hold his peace while his fellow citizens are living in hovels beneath the levels of the street and being subjugated and violated, then I say to you, you do not know the Lord Jesus in the Sacrament and you do not know us.'