In the Making

By Richard Wu

Czesław Miłosz, “Ode for John Paul II”

We come to you, men of weak faith,
So that you might fortify us with the example of your life
And liberate us from anxiety
About tomorrow and next year. Your twentieth century
Was made famous by the names of powerful tyrants
And by the annihilation of their rapacious states.
You knew it must happen. You taught hope:
For only Christ is the lord and master of history.

Foreigners could not guess from whence came the hidden strength
Of a novice from Wadowice. The prayers and prophecies
Of poets, whom money and progress scorned,
Even though they were the equals of kings, waited for you
So that you, not they, could announce, urbi et orbi,
That the centuries are not absurd but a vast order.

Shepherd given us when the gods depart!
In the fog above the cities the Golden Calf shines,
The defenseless crowds race to offer the sacrifice
Of their own children to the bloody screens of Moloch.
In the air, fear, a lament without words:
Since a desire for faith is not the same as faith.

Then, suddenly, like the clear sound of the bell for matins,
Your sign of dissent, which is like a miracle.
People ask, not comprehending, how it’s possible
That the young of the unbelieving countries
Gather in public squares, shoulder to shoulder,
Waiting for news from two thousand years ago
And throw themselves at the feet of the Vicar
Who embraced with his love the whole human tribe.

You are with us and will be with us henceforth.
When the forces of chaos raise their voice
And the owners of truth lock themselves in churches
And only the doubters remain faithful,
Your portrait in our homes every day reminds us
How much one man can accomplish and how sainthood works.

(Source: cosmosinthelost, via wesleyhill)

Darrell Johnson – The New Human for a New Era (39 plays)

The New Human for a New Era, by Darrell Johnson at First Baptist Church, 20th April 2014. (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-9, 20-26, 45-49 or the sermon transcript.)

Sarah says that she “finally felt like a Christian” after hearing this sermon today. I knew immediately what she meant. This is one of the most rich, lucid and approachable public proclamations of the Gospel that I have ever heard. If you need a solid Easter sermon, this is it.

(Note: Darrell was a professor of preaching at Regent for many years, and has now returned to his first love of pastoring. If you want to know what Regent preachers sound like, this is an excellent archetype. Darrell has shaped the voice of the school, and to that effect, our own individual voices.)

(Source: firstbc)

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Bramantino, “The Risen Christ” (1490).

Not a piece which I would initially find attractive, but that usually means I need to give the art more time and space to work on me. I love the commentary from Wesley Hill, though:

My friend Marly Youmans and I were talking about this on Twitter last night, and I can’t improve on her description: “A beautiful quality of estrangement from the ordinary. Marmoreal—almost architectural! But a stranger substance. Moon-metal!”

Bramantino, “The Risen Christ” (1490).

Not a piece which I would initially find attractive, but that usually means I need to give the art more time and space to work on me. I love the commentary from Wesley Hill, though:

My friend Marly Youmans and I were talking about this on Twitter last night, and I can’t improve on her description: “A beautiful quality of estrangement from the ordinary. Marmoreal—almost architectural! But a stranger substance. Moon-metal!”

Easter Sunday: life reigns!

An excerpt from the Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom. Fascinating to see how Christians were celebrating Christ’s resurrection merely 300 years after the event.

Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and whether first or last, receive your reward.  O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!

You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden: feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted: let no-one go forth hungry!

Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.  Let no-one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no-one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave. Let no-one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.

He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into Hades and took Hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! 

It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked!  It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!

It took a body, and came upon God! It took earth, and encountered Heaven! It took what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!

O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown! Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen! Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life reigns! Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!

(Source: unapologetic-book)

An excerpt from “Horae Canonicae” (“The Canonical Hours”) by W.H. Auden

Terce

After shaking paws with his dog,
(Whose bark would tell the world that he is always kind,)
The hangman sets off briskly over the heath;
He does not know yet who will be provided
To do the high works of Justice with:
Gently closing the door of his wife’s bedroom,
(Today she has one of her headaches)
With a sigh the judge descends his marble stair;
He does not know by what sentence
He will apply on earth the Law that rules the stars:
And the poet, taking a breather
Round his garden before starting his eclogue,
Does not know whose Truth he will tell.

Sprites of hearth and store-room, godlings
Of professional mysteries, the Big Ones
Who can annihilate a city,
Cannot be bothered with this moment: we are left,
Each to his secret cult, now each of us
Prays to an image of his image of himself:
'Let me get through this coming day
Without a dressing down from a superior,
Being worsted in a repartee,
Or behaving like an ass in front of the girls;
Let something exciting happen,
Let me find a lucky coin on a sidewalk.
Let me hear a new funny story.’

At this hour we all might be anyone:
It is only our victim who is without a wish
Who knows already (that is what
We can never forgive. If he knows the answers,
Then why are we here, why is there even dust?)
Knows already that, in fact, our prayers are heard,
That not one of us will slip up,
That the machinery of our world will function
Without a hitch, that today, for once,
There will be no squabbling on Mount Olympus,
No Chthonian mutters of unrest,
But no other miracle, knows that by sundown
We shall have had a good Friday.

Holy Saturday
Hans Holbein the Younger, ‘The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb’ (c1520-22).
“Why some people may lose their faith by looking at that picture!” — Prince Myshkin, in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. 
Exactly.
(via wesleyhill)

Holy Saturday

Hans Holbein the Younger, ‘The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb’ (c1520-22).

“Why some people may lose their faith by looking at that picture!” — Prince Myshkin, in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. 

Exactly.

(via wesleyhill)