Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday Reflection - Adrian Furse

This homily was given by Adrian Furse, a final year ordinand, at Evening Prayer on Monday 10th May 2010. The readings was 1 Peter 4:1-11.

‘The end of all things is at hand’ 1Peter 4:7

For those of us who live between the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and His Second Coming, this is what we are to have in mind: that we inhabit a liminal space, looking to the completion of all things in the mercy of God.

As a community we have to live with this uncertainty in a number of ways – staff and students are preparing to leave – for work elsewhere and ordination, some are preparing to sit examinations, and all for the glory of God in a world whose economic and political spheres are uncertain, for a church where old certainties give way to new crises. But lest we think that we are alone or unusual in this, it is salutary to be reminded that this is exactly the situation faced by the addressees of the First Letter of Peter.

The advice in this evening’s second reading (1Peter 4:1-11) is quite clear: we are to be in the world, but not of the world. The Christian faith which we proclaim in both word and deed is to be radical, profoundly counter-cultural – a sign of hope, of new life, and victory, in Christ’s breaking the bonds of Hell and being raised to new life in the Spirit. Not for us the revelry which meets its end in dissipation, but in the sober and prayerful cultivation of the virtues.

Our growth in holiness together as a community is founded in the love which we have one for another. This love is a reflection of the life of God as Trinity in Unity and the source and perfection of all human virtues. It is this love which makes Jesus lay down His life freely and in obedience to the will of His Father. It is this love which raises Him to new life and through the Holy Spirit strengthens and encourages His Church. We respond by living lives in this world though not of it, founded on and infused by love which covers a multitude a multitude of our sins. It is shown in our common life together and our hospitality towards our guests in this place.

As a mixed, varied, and diverse community, we take the gifts and talents which God has given to us, to use them to build up our common life together. Everything which we do, from pouring a Gin & Tonic, to sweeping up dead flies in church, organising liturgy, writing an essay, taking an exam, or offering the Sacrifice of the Mass, all these things are done for the glory of God and to build us up in love.

All that we have, all that we are is directed towards these aims, this is what living the resurrection life means. The world may not understand it, yet it cannot fail to be moved by our witness to the love of God in word and deed. This then is our end, our proper function, the goal toward which we press.