Happy Birthday to Soren Kierkegaard.
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
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?
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
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.
I have been thinking about preaching and found the above picture. The guy with his head in his hands is me!!!!!
Today, 18 years ago, I was ordained a deacon. It was Lent 4, hence the “rose” vestments. I remember it was hot and the vestments were really heavy.
“Knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.1 Corinthians 8:1b