Monday, 27 October 2008

My People Asked for Bread and you Gave Them a Stone.

Yesterday evening saw Solemn Evensong and Benediction (I wish there were a picture, it is not every day we run to deacon and subdeacon at Benediction) well attended for a dark Sunday evening in the rain. Three friends from Mirfield came and later enjoyed a meal at the Prachee restaurant down the road before coming back for a couple of drinks. In retrospect, I should have brought the reliquaries out for a polishing with so many able hands in attendance for they will be needed this Sunday for All Saints. We hope to see some of our Mirfield friends again on Saint Hilda's Day, Sunday November 16th at 6pm as well as any other readers who can come. There is a buffet afterwards, if that be any incentive.

The light of the world, the bright morning star, so freely offered in the service of Benediction is the originator of the word transcendent. The morning star transcends time, which we have created to order the world in the reverse of creation although time and seasons, two mutually distinct ideas, one natural and one unnatural, both travel in an eastwards direction. Time goes forward from the meridian, East and then back to the beginning and the seasons depend on the dance of the moon and planets, perpetually spinning in an easterly direction, out of time, literally, coming from the West, where the universe is still being created and heading to the infinite. Creation, of God and from God, is the heart of Benediction, we are created and then made new in His sight, His blessing and His presence renew us in our faith and refresh our souls, the truest parts of our existence. This promise given to Moses as he went up the Holy Mountain and made again to Zechariah, proclaimed by a man whose name was John and given utterly on the cross is either the source and summit of life or it is a false hope, in which case it is to be ground underfoot and forgotten. To receive the bread of life in the morning and to worship the Lord in flesh in the evening is maybe as poetic a thing as is available to us.

The Morning Star, the dawn which breaks upon us, is the life of the world, it is the test of faith, the greatest promise and the hardest obstacle to overcome in the search for truth. On the presence of Christ in the monstrance do I stake my life and my belief in the promise made to Abraham. From this stems Church order, governance, the reading of scripture in the way in which I am wont to read it and hard, painful choices as well as easy, joyful ones. The orthodox celebration of the Eucharist, the touching of humanity by God, the descent of the Holy Ghost made time after time, in accordance with the promises mentioned above, the promise of His presence made to His friends is absolutely vital. It transcends contemporary mores, it is beyond calls of elitism and sexism, it is the hope of the world. Misleading people by voting for changes in the celebration of the Eucharist, putting faith in ourselves rather than God, is sinful and destructive, it tears the body of Christ and turns our back on His commandment to be one.

The Diocese of Sydney, then, has some explaining to do. By letting lay people preside over the Eucharist, as they have done tacitly for years, they deprive the people of that place of the true body. They rip the gift of God, the promise of the scriptures, away from their peoples hands and they replace it with their own egos and their own sin. They peddle the lie that all is the same, that Christ did not ordain a line of presbyters, called often unwillingly and sometimes to their deaths, who have served Him for two thousand years, unable to resist the call of the Light, changing their lives to meet His and giving themselves to people day after day. Not any more, for Sydney has changed his mind. All was in error until this point, now the parishes of Sydney must feed their people with a stone when they ask for the bread of life.

See the confusion and destruction that comes when we begin to change the received word of God. This is also further evidence of our utter incompatibility with GAFCON, for Sydney is trying to appease everyone in a way which robs all. He will not ordain women as Priests in his Diocese, like Ballarat and The Murray in the same country, but wanting to keep everyone happy he allows Deacons to celebrate the Mass. Even worse, women Deacons will only be able to simulate saying the Eucharist for groups of women. What is this about? Where does this ghettoisation of half the world come from? Here, before your very eyes, is utter sexism and a lack of faithfulness, here is a real second best for half of God's world. A faithful leader would not have let this happen, what this does show is that the Bishop has scant regard for the Eucharist, the source of grace and the summit of life.

People, sometimes, like to call us sexist, because they do not wish to see anything as God's alone, everything has to be touched by the hand of the zeitgeist, to be of the moment and made new in our own image in the mirror of Narcissus. The Eucharist is the last stand, the last battle, if it is devalued in the Church, if it is reduced to a symbol, then to hell with it, to hell with the Church and to hell with the promise made to Abraham which has been kept unto even this age, which seeks to forget it and make a golden calf of ourselves. I know that Christ died for our sins and that he rose body and soul from the dead, for the bible tells me so and it has told people so for two thousand years, through error, controversy, persecution, war and famine. That knowledge of Emmanuel has sustained the world, Christ with us on our altars and in our souls is not a matter of negotiation, or voting, it is a tenet of faith and on that faith will I live and die as the world has before me.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel;
because He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people:
And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David His servant:
As He spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us:
To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember His holy testament,
The oath, which He swore to Abraham our father, that He would grant to us,
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve Him without fear,
In holiness and justice before Him, all our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways:
To give knowledge of salvation to His people, unto the remission of their sins:
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death:
to direct our feet into the way of peace.