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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Easter Musings - Wednesday

1. Here we are in the middle of Holy Week. There are all these services going on and I am not motivated to go to any of them. I have not lost my faith just my patience in going to corporate worship. I don’t turn off my critic and find fault with much that goes on. Readings, prayers, sermons, chanting are tedious and don’t grip me any longer – not that they ever did. Sometimes music will bring a tear or a memory. Sometimes the sacrament of Holy Communion connects me to family or events and/or people in the congregation.

I am reading the propers in the 1662 BCP and find I do not want to read yet again about the passion of Jesus. My mind is clear about what it all means but I don’t want to go through the pain of reading the long narratives and brooding on the pain and suffering of Jesus. My old friend Hugh Magee puts it well when he writes:

"This is Palm Sunday, the celebration of victory and the acceptance of the truth. Let us not spend this holy week brooding on the crucifixion of God's Son, but happily in the celebration of his release. For Easter is the sign of peace, not pain. A slain Christ has no meaning."

I do look forward to Easter Day, the flowers, hymns, procession and the joyous upbeat service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

2. I do not know how to grow or enlarge the church at this time. I am glad I am not responsible for leading a congregation. The BCP liturgy is too precious and complex for seekers. It is not personal enough, it fails to grab one emotionally unless one is brought up in the faith and is trained in the liturgy. I also don’t find myself interested in developing liturgies to attract newcomers and visitors. It takes different music, prayers, and ways of consecrating and distributing bread and wine. Armand Kreft tries to attract people by gospel hymns and catholic worship with humor, fun and an upbeat personal style. That worked for him at Holy Innocents and we hope it will work in Buffalo where he works now.

3. The Easter Vigil is popular and chic now with endless readings, staying up most of the night and de-emphasizing the 11 AM Easer Day liturgy. Years ago I was invited to attend and preach at a sunrise service on Easter morning, I sniffed my refusal saying, “Jesus rose at 11 AM on a Easter morning and not a moment before.” Just old fashioned I guess. I used to love the services when I was in charge. Now that I am not I am impatient with what goes on. I am quite sure the church will go ahead without me. I am OK with my crusty view of religion and liturgy. My faith is whole; my expression of it is limited pretty much to social service and social action.

I never was much good at private prayer, meditation and the daily offices. I tried them out many times, dropped them, restarted them and basically pray on the go, while swimming and “ejaculatory” prayers, one of my favorite expressions of piety.

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Anonymous Fred Fenton said...

Here are my "Easter Musings" this year:

Postmodern Easter

Pious folk deplore the commercialization of Christian holidays. Chocolate bunnies and baskets of colored eggs seem a distraction from the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. Yet rabbits and eggs, viewed as symbols of fecundity and new life, may better represent a postmodern view of Easter than the earthquake, angels, and empty tomb of the Gospel accounts.

The postmodern mind, a mind no better than any other mind, but a mind conditioned by a certain way of thinking, finds unconvincing both a literal reading of the Bible stories and modern explanations of what may have occurred. One modern version speaks of an “Easter moment” when Jesus’ disciples realized he was in some sense “risen,” and still a force in their lives. Postmoderns desire something more than that. They want their own lives “resurrected,” transformed, made new.

That miracle begins with self-acceptance, knowing in our hearts we are of infinite worth. It involves stubborn belief in the capacity of the human spirit to triumph over adversity. It means facing an unknown future unafraid, trusting, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, there is ultimate meaning to human existence. Engaging life fully in this way cheats death of its power over our lives now and at the end of the journey.

Moreover, living life this way is contagious. It multiplies as fast as rabbits. It represents a renewable kind of energy, a rising of the human spirit, a whole universe of meaning in a single “new” life. We take a second look at the eggs in the Easter basket and smile.

8:27 PM  

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