Showing items filed under “C: The Sanctuary I: Who is Jesus Christ? incarnation, atonement, resurrection”


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I have been writing an introduction to the Christian faith, a kind of catechism. The conceit is borrowed from, George Herbert, the great Anglican poet/priest of the 17th Century, that the church building itself is a symbol of the structure of our faith.

The Temple of the Lord - the place, mental, communal, spiritual within which we are given faithfully to dwell:

the narthex (entryway) coming to faith

the stained glass - seeing all things in God’s light

the altar - the center of attention and action, Jesus Christ

the nave - the Christian life

the buttresses, carvings, etc.,- in the Anglican style

the exit - mission, the last things

Now at mid-point we begin a description of the nave.



The Prayer of Jesus

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When Jesus’ disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray, He obliges. It is not a technique, nor does it offer grandiloquence-quite the contrary. It is remarkable for brevity, simplicity, and direct exposure of His heart. The teaching of the prayer amounts to an invitation into His relation to His Father. With His death this shared indwelling becomes a salvific reality.

Jesus prays to God as His ‘Abba’, ‘daddy.’ Its intimacy is surprising. Again, post-resurrection, it is the core of which, came Trinitarian reflection.

Throughout, the prayer assumes the coming of the Kingdom. It lies wholly in God’s hands, but we implore Him to bring it now- ‘maranatha’ ‘come Lord,’ was an early Christian cry. The life of the Kingship of God is marked by forgiveness, radical dependence of Him, surrender of self-which also mark the life of Jesus Himself.

Still we realize that the life of faith means testing, especially the risk of abandoning or betraying Him, of despair ‘temptation’. We realize that, though God will prevail, for now the world contains malign forces. But in the end the victory will be God’s, which has the last word in the prayer as well.

The New Testament scholar C.H. Dodd noted the similarity of the prayer to Jesus’ travail in the Garden of Gethsemane- Abba, trial, forgiveness. Freed by His suffering, we disciples in our lives, out of gratitude, join Him there.



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