Collect for Feast (Sep 8)

This is the Collect by the Episcopal Church:

Heavenly Father, whose beloved Son Jesus Christ felt sorrow and Dread in the Garden of Gethsemane: help us to remember that, even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death and desolation, thou art ever with us; that, encouraged by the writings of Soren Kierkegaard and others, we may believe where we have not seen, trust where we cannot test, and so come at last to the eternal joy which thou hast prepared for us, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Wish List

Here is my wish list of Kierkegaard books in order.

  1. Kierkegaard’s Writings, XV: Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits
  2. Kierkegaard’s Writings, V: Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses 
  3. Kierkegaard’s Writings, VII: Philosophical Fragments or a Fragment of Philosophy/Johannes Climacus, or De omnibus dubitandum est (Two books in one volume)
  4. Kierkegaard’s Writings, XXII: The Point of View
  5. Kierkegaard’s Writings, X: Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions 
  6. Kierkegaard’s Writings, XIV: Two Ages: ‘The Age of Revolution’ and the ‘Present Age’: A Literary Review 
  7. Kierkegaard’s Writings, XXI: For Self-Examination / Judge For Yourself!
  8. Kierkegaard’s Writings, XXIV, Volume 24: The Book on Adler
  9. Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)

Listening … before God!!

Now forget this light talk about art. Alas, in regard to things spiritual, the foolishness of many is this, that they in the secular sense look upon the speaker as an actor, and the listeners as theatergoers who are to pass judgment upon the artist. But the speaker is not the actor — not in the remotest sense. No, the speaker is the prompter. There are no mere theatergoers present, for each listener will be looking into his own heart. The stage is eternity, and the listener, if he is the true listener (and if he is not, he is at fault) stands before God during the talk. The prompter whispers to the actor what he is to say, but the actor’s repetition of it is the main concern — is the solemn charm of the art. The speaker whispers the word to the listeners. But the main concern is earnestness: that the listeners by themselves, with themselves, and to themselves, in the silence before God, may speak with the help of this address.

The address is not given for the speaker’s sake, in order that men may praise or blame him. The listener’s repetition of it is what is aimed at. If the speaker has the responsibility for what he whispers, then the listener has an equally great responsibility not to fall short in his task. In the theater, the play is staged before an audience who are called theatergoers; but at the devotional address, God himself is present. In the most earnest sense, God is the critical theatergoer, who looks on to see how the lines are spoken and how they are listened to: hence here the customary audience is wanting. The speaker is then the prompter, and the listener stands openly before God. The listener, if I may say so, is the actor, who in all truth acts before God.

Chapter 12: What Then Must I Do? The Listener’s Role in a Devotional Address

27 April

A certain flock of geese lived together in a barnyard with high walls around it. Because the corn was good and the barnyard was secure, these geese would never take a risk. One day a philosopher goose came among them. He was a very good philosopher and every week they listened quietly and attentively to his learned discourses. ‘My fellow travelers on the way of life,’ he would say, ‘can you seriously imagine that this barnyard, with great high walls around it, is all there is to existence? I tell you, there is another and a greater world outside, a world of which we are only dimly aware. Our forefathers knew of this outside world. For did they not stretch their wings and fly across the trackless wastes of desert and ocean, of green valley and wooded hill? But alas, here we remain in this barnyard, our wings folded and tucked into our sides, as we are content to puddle in the mud, never lifting our eyes to the heavens which should be our home.The geese thought this was very fine lecturing. ‘How poetical,’ they thought. ‘How profoundly existential. What a flawless summary of the mystery of existence.’ Often the philosopher spoke of the advantages of flight, calling on the geese to be what they were. After all, they had wings, he pointed out. What were wings for, but to fly with? Often he reflected on the beauty and the wonder of life outside the barnyard, and the freedom of the skies.And every week the geese were uplifted, inspired, moved by the philosopher’s message. They hung on his every word. They devoted hours, weeks, months to a thoroughgoing analysis and critical evaluation of his doctrines. They produced learned treatises on the ethical and spiritual implications of flight. All this they did. But one thing they never did. They did not fly! For the corn was good, and the barnyard was secure!”

Soren Kierkegaard

3 April

I had a dream last night that I was listening to Kierkegaard preaching in Trinity, Copenhagen. He preached part of a discourse I had recently read. And this is the line he spoke over and over:

I have come to no conclusions but that this really what this Lent is all about. When we are stripped of everything, even the liturgical meeting together, what then? Do you love Jesus more than all of that? When it comes to the very essence of Christianity – do I love my sin more than I love Jesus?

the tax collector

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Luke 18:9-14

25 March – Priesthood?

Today (liturgically) is the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. (If you have done the math, there is less then a month between being made a deacon and priesthood!) I have not functioned as a priest for over a decade. And I have wondered what priesthood means to me. Maybe I should speak of an “inner priesthood” – a call from God to me to live a life of sacrifice and love? But all of that will unfold in God’s time. SO for now, I am waiting!

BTW: that is the worst fitting chasuble!

And we are in offical lockdown. We should only go outside for urgent business like food or medicine. Lots of uncertainty! This morning I was struck by how all of this is again a period of waiting. And we are no good at waiting. We want action – get things done.

WE beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And today is the festival of the Annunciation. With God all things are possible.

15 March

Billy Sunday preaching on March 15, 1915 in a temporary tabernacle erected on the site of the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Illustration by George Bellows. Metropolitan Magazine, May 1915

I have been thinking about preaching and found the above picture. The guy with his head in his hands is me!!!!!