Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Two days before this past Christmas I posted about a man who froze to death in Huntington, and was found on the steps of Trinity Episcopal Church, on 5th Ave., downtown. His blood was smeared on the door as he tried to gain entry.

Another man was found in Huntington this morning, this time in Rotary Park. He likely died from exposure. Apparently, he had tried to build a fire, but was unsuccessful. He was not wearing shoes.

Watch this.

Jesus performed two very important actions before his Passion. He broke bread at the Passover meal with those who were closest to him, thus instituting the sacrament of his body and blood, but before he did this, he disrobed, and washed his friends' feet, drying them with his clothes.

He charged us, we who dare to follow his way of being human, to do the same. Not theoretically, and not "in spirit," but as he did, in a very real, concrete way. Our task is not to muster belief in a concept we cannot comprehend, but to do.

Stanley Hauerwas says this:
[Christianity] is not a set of beliefs or doctrines one believes in order to be a Christian, but rather Christianity is to have one's body shaped, one's habits determind, in such a way that the worship of God is unavoidable.
If we step back and look at the last two major pre-Passion actions of Jesus, we find our call to administer the Sacraments (tangible signs of God's invisible grace), and to mortify our egos in acts of obeisance to our friends and to complete strangers, to the point of ridiculousness.

Sacraments? We have that covered. In the larger Church, "sacrament" has been the primary focus for centuries, and the tide has pushed even stronger in that direction since the Second Vatican Council, and the myriad reactions to it. Sacraments? Yeah, we've got that.

But are we living up to our potential, nevermind our obligation? Jesus certainly does not expect us to disrobe and start washing feet, but there are cultural equivalents. I need not suggest one act, because I am sure that we can all name five without serious thought. Our love must be incarnational, or else it is not love at all.

As I discover some of the music of the post-Vat2 church, as a convert, that the elite are beginning to shed, I find some gems. One line from one song has really wedged itself in my head:
When we stand together to stand against Hell, the name of this people is Emmanuel.
I pray that when our Stork peers in our office windows, he does not find us yawning. My prayer is that he will see us wrapped in a towel, washing feet.

Pax et bonum.

[Thanks to Father Austin Murphy for the video, and to Dr. Fox, who knows his Stork, and proves it.]