Blog Template Theology of the Body: The Battle is the Lord's

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Battle is the Lord's

Fr. WB and I were blessed to attend the Episcopalian ordination of the Rev. Randall Foster of Texanglican over the weekend. Fr. Foster is a true saint in the making (as his adoring students attest), and he deserves our warmest congratulations.

The ordination, held at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Ft. Worth, was as gorgeous as only an ordination in the Anglican tradition can be. The music spoke of vocation in the most stirring sense. (I have not stopped singing the Nashotah House hymn since). The gestures of the ancient liturgy are moving: the prostration of the ordinand before the Lord, the cluster of brother clergy who huddle around the new priest so that the simple act of the laying on of hands becomes a strong embrace, the humble kneeling of the bishop to receive the new priest's first blessing. What gets me most is the sight of the young fathers in Christ- my friends who are Episcopalian priests who are also like brothers- who came tearing around the corner into the sanctuary, in their vestments, in their entrance procession behind the Cross, making their joyful obeisance toward the Crucified and the altar as they enter. Like soldiers marching. They are real men, with a banner to carry.

I've thought about this before:
...Anglicans like these all inspire me. These men are like warriors in love with Christ and they wish to do battle for His Body. Why are there so many ardent young men flocking around the earthquakes within the Anglican Communion? -We discussed this. I think it's because the Anglican Communion seems to offer a battlefield ready for the making of modern heroes, and this kind of battle invites and requires... men...

There will always be battles in the world beyond our skirmishes within the Church. There are battles for the bodies of babies and the dignity of the elderly and infirm. There is a thriving sex trade involving little girls who are mere toddlers in East Asia. There is genocide... there is scandal. There is a battle for souls. There have always been whining demons in the din of our confused culture, and lately those demons seem to scream their lies while no-one knows to object. There are prisoners of war waiting with dull eyes to see the Light of Life. It is into these battles that the Church is called. In her priests and people she is the army that storms the gates of Hell.

And, she is the ancient, welcoming Household wherein the Father feeds and raises His children by the power of the Spirit. She is supposed to be the society that shows the world how to live.

The Church fails sometimes. She fails when she mistakes idols for her Lord. She fails when she distracts herself with interior skirmishes and tears at herself with schism. She fails whenever she forgets that the battle is not her's, but is won already. She fails when she presumes to behave more like a self-sufficient warrior than a responsive bride. She fails when she refuses to obey. They say that the Anglican Communion is failing. In returning and rest shall be our strength.

I pray for all of my brothers as they perform their reconaissance and their peacekeeping missions and their diplomacy for the battle that is won already. But may we all labor only to enter into His rest. (Hebrews 4, I think)

"And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." Isaiah 32.