Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | January 19, 2013

Inauguratin’ Rythym

So the news of the approaching Inauguration is that after one rector who might have given the oath of office was dismissed or dismissed himself for disagreeable comments made a decade or more ago, they’ve found a new man. That man is Cuban-born Episcopal priest Luis Leon. As the Washington Post puts it, “… he is expected to be uncontroversial”.

And my reaction? Christ is everywhere controversial. The Gospel is controversial… radically controversial and life changing. If it’s not, then it’s not the Truth. The problem with Christianity is that it makes us uncomfortable… it is NOT a comfortable religion. Anything but.

Yes… we have too often taken the comfortable parts and extracted them as a comfort for us as we absorb the deaths of our loved ones, but it is very clear that Death is not comfortable… or shouldn’t be… and is not part of the Christian life. If a life is lived in love of Christ and His people, those He loves, and it is lived so completely and intensely in this love that nothing else stands between it and the life of God, that this animates every fiber of our bodies, minds and spirits every moment, then when that life is over, our own lives are so radically disrupted by this terminus that it’s as though a power cord were suddenly ripped out of a light tower and a shower of incandescence darkened. This is a life lived so absolutely without fear, without holding back, without claiming, “This is mine”… that it can’t be any other than a life so completely surrendered to God and His people that its end becomes an inordinant challenge, speaking as it does to us, “How can he…?” and “How can I not?”

This is the intensity of communion, real communion… where the very fiber of our Lord is ingested in each of us, every part of Him, and becomes part of each of us at the core of our being as it grinds literally through the gestation of our core. This is the link that is inescapably clear as though instead of administering it one-by-one, we consumed communion simultaneously… without losing a drop of the intimacy of the cup and with each other… as would be the case in the eschatological time of Heaven rather than the sequential linear time of our lives here on earth… where as a Body, we consume His body within our own to become one with Him and His Body as we become one with each other.

And yet in our time, the great and real tragedy of our lives is how our experience of separation diminishes this whole fullness into something tamer because… well, we want it that way…. we’re afraid of playing with fire, so we cool the fire-hot love in that chalice almost before it hits our lips, and the dimensions of the feast are lost before our eyes as well as before our hearts and minds. There is as much lost of this in our lives, in the lives we should live as we lose in the death of our loved ones. For this is our death… the loss of the vision of Holy Fire… each Sunday within the Cup dying on the cross for the desire with which it would fill in ourselves.

And this Life of Christ, the Life in Christ as we would have it… and rather than the will of the Father, it becomes subject to and about our will… and is so much less, even less christian… and especially something uncontroversial. And it becomes less of the “Yes” to Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father offered by our Lady Theotokos at the Annunciation, a moment and a person more honorable beyond compare than Cherubim and more glorious than the Seraphim. And it is nothing like that…. nothing that radical… but something more we’d offer as if we were answering a question we’d barely paid attention to… something more dismissive… something like, “Hmmmm… what? Ah…. yes, dear. Sure, another cup.” And it is that other cup that we drink.

So perhaps uncontroversial is what we really want, right? Something that lets us get on with it… with that disengaged, inattentive sense of our lives… caught so much in our own webs we’re scarcely aware of the Life that passes ever close by. Let it pass. Choose the uncontroversial. Stick with what we know. It’s “better”, right? No one will miss us… not for now, not for these few moments while I finish my coffee, read my sports pages, or whatever. No, not ever. Let alone and get along.

And that’s my thought about the Inauguration… an event intended in a secular sphere of kings and queens, despots and dictators… and not unlike the inauguration of each of our days, each of our liturgies, and each of our repentances… if we would just let it be so. I don’t know about you, but I say… so let it crown us, let us instead take the radical, or die trying… let that be our cross and our victory.


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