Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Third Sunday of Easter

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

-- BCP, page 224


Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4 or 116:1-3, 10-17;
1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

In his daily meditation for Easter Monday, Fr. Richard Rohr, OSF, writes:

When God gives of Godself, one of two things happens: either flesh is inspirited or spirit is enfleshed. It is really very clear. I am somewhat amazed that more have not recognized this simple pattern: God's will is incarnation. And against all our expectations of divinity, it appears that for God, matter really matters.

This Creator of ours is patiently determined to put matter and spirit together, almost as if the one were not complete without the other. This Lord of life seems to desire a perfect but free unification between body and soul. So much so, in fact, that God appears to be willing to wait for the creatures to will and choose this unity themselves-or it remains unrealized. But if God did it any other way, the medium would not be the message: God never enforces or dominates, but only allures and seduces.

God apparently loves freedom as much as incarnation. This is the rub of time and history and our interminable groanings (see Romans 8:18-25). Jesus trusted God's slow process of incarnation instead of demanding an immediate conclusion. The result was resurrection and the realization of eternal union between body and spirit, human and divine.
Resurrection tells us that "matter really matters." A spirituality that does not concern itself with the material -- this world, this place, these creatures, these humans -- cannot be Godly. Unfortunately, it is quite prevalent in our language (including in the Book of Common Prayer) to speak of "the salvation of our souls." This could make us think, with Manicheans and all dualists of ages past, that God only cares about the spiritual realm and considers only the soul to be worth the hassle. Thanks, Plato.

But the story of our faith in the Scriptures, culminating with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, very clearly asserts that the material world, including our very bodies, matter greatly to God as a primary concern.

William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury during World War Two, said that "Christianity is the most materialistic of the world religions." I don't wish to get into invidious comparisons, but you get the point. God is concerned with the whole person. God cares about the well-being of all created things. After all, God made the world with bursts of delight that culminated in: "God saw everything that [God] had made, and, indeed, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).

That "either flesh is inspirited or spirit is enfleshed" is the consistent insight in the Scriptures. Incarnation and Resurrection are not freakish exceptions to the rules but rather revelation of the true pattern of the Divine activity in creation. Incarnation matters. Resurrection matters.

I close with a brief poem I wrote a long time ago, paraphrasing my friend and poet Carl Johnson, of blessed memory:




, a flaming bird

against the


This blood of


(I can love

my toes

I dream,

indeed, I dream

-- DDRH, 1976

Under the Mercy,

Fr. Daniel+

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