Image of God

...the mystery of what it means to be human, and the glory of what it means to be divine, find their perfection in Jesus Christ...

SJF • Trinity Sunday A 2014 • Tobias S Haller BSG
God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness...”

And so it begins... We heard this morning the unfolding of the beginning of all things, the creation of the world and all that is in it, as recorded in the first chapter and the first verse of the second chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. In this powerful vision of creation, God is portrayed as a master architect — as in William Blake’s famous illustration: God sets his compass on the face of the deep. Blake — a master craftsman himself — portrays God as the supreme Master Craftsman, the heavenly architect at work.

So too, the language of this creation story echoes the building of the earthly temple. This is fitting. For just as the temple was God’s symbolic dwelling, all of creation is a habitation for the Most High. Of course, as Solomon would later say when he built the temple in Jerusalem, even heaven and the highest heaven can not contain the greatness of God, how much less this earthly temple. Yet we know that God does visit these earthly habitations — in ways that will become clear, I hope, in a moment.

In the cosmic temple described in Genesis, the dome is the roof of the sky, and its foundation is the earth. The waters are gathered together into one place, into just such a basin as was featured in the temple in Jerusalem, a huge bronze basin in which the priests would wash before they entered the inner courts. The vegetation reflects the decoration of the temple, the walls and columns, carved with fruit, vines and branches. The great lights of the sun and moon are like the huge bronze lamp-stands that stood in the temple court. Then, to provide the multitude of sacrifices, all the living creatures are created. Thus the temple is almost complete, ready for the worship of God.

I say, almost complete. What is missing? Well, in most temples of the ancient near east, in the innermost portion, in the shrine of the holy of holies, you would find an image of the God that the people worshiped, to whom the temple was dedicated. And this is where we come in. As you know, God forbade the Israelites making and worshiping graven images; and in the temple in Jerusalem, in the Holy of Holies, there was no image of God — but instead, the ark of the covenant and the cherubim who served as the throne of the invisible God.

But in the cosmic temple described in Genesis, God does create an image, a likeness, to represent God, and to take its place at the center of creation, in the holy of holies. God creates humanity.

This tells us that the author of Genesis understood humanity as the crowning achievement of creation, but even more, to be an image or likeness of God. It is as much as to say, If you want to know what God is like, look at human beings.

Now, this doesn’t mean that God has a head or two arms and two legs. And we also have to acknowledge, especially given the rest of Genesis, to say nothing of Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and all the rest, that we are to look to the best of humanity — humanity as it is meant to be at its best — if we want to gain an idea of God’s nature. So what are people like at their best: and how do we reflect the image of God?

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We find an answer to this question in the closing words from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” Grace, love and communion: these three qualities of God, reflected in humanity, are facets of God’s image and likeness; and these facets, like the persons of the Holy Trinity itself, are related and connected, much as the human and divine natures are interconnected in the person of Jesus Christ. What’s more, the mystery of what it means to be human, and the glory of what it means to be divine, find their perfection in Jesus Christ; he is the true image and likeness untarnished by sin: revealing humanity as all that humanity is meant to be, when God created us in the first place. It is in the Incarnation of Christ that we will find the place where the human and divine meet, as the hymn says, “God in man made manifest.”

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First comes the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. What is grace? We tend to think of grace as being about style, decorum, elegance. We say someone is “graceful” when they move well. But the grace of God, especially of God in Christ, is about the gift of God and the giving of God, the stooping down and emptying out of the Son of God, the graceful descent from the throne at the Father’s right hand, the choice to come to us, to be with us as one of us, the graceful condescension of Emmanuel — God with us — when the power of God leapt down into the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the infinite reality of the creator of all that was became, as one old poet so beautifully put it, “compassed in little space.” This is the grace of Jesus Christ, like the grace of the most perfect high-board diver who leaps from the highest point and spins and plummets but then enters the water with only a tiny splash! This is the grace that is a gift: a gift to you and a gift to me, that the Son of God, should for our sake, take our nature upon himself, as naturally as a man or woman puts on a garment perfectly tailored for them — because it was for this reason that God made us in his image in the first place: that one day God might put on our nature with such a perfect fit. This is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Next comes the love of God the Father. And John the Evangelist is the great exponent of God’s love; it is a theme he takes up again and again. It is he who assures us that God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but have everlasting life. He continues, that God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. As John said, In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. So once again, John helps us to see that God’s very being is tied up with the Incarnation, the sending down of the Son of God to be with us, in order to save us. As Jesus said in John’s Gospel, There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. And this is what God did for us, in Christ, giving himself to save us, even from ourselves.

And as John continues in his First Epistle: “Since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.” You can’t see God — God is invisible — but when we love each other, giving of ourselves for each other, we become so much like him, that the original image and likeness he bestowed upon us in creation begins to glimmer through the stains of sin that we accumulate in our earthly life. Every act of love, every “sending” of ourselves, every stepping aside to honor and serve another, is a reflection of God’s very being. Such is the love of God the Father, who sent his Son to save us.

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Which brings us to the “communion” or “fellowship” of the Holy Spirit. Of all human love, the love that Christians show to one another, which finds its perfection in the communion of the church, is a revelation of God to the world. John again gives us Jesus’ word on this: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The harmony of the church reflects the harmony of heaven; the unity of the church reflects the unity of God, and the loving fellowship and communion of the church reflects the being of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Communion, whether the communion shared by the persons of the Holy Trinity, or the communion shared by individual Christians or by Christian churches, does not mean that everyone is exactly the same. Right in the middle of our west rose window you can see the old emblem of the Trinity: and it affirms the truth that while we believe the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God — yet we do not, as the Athanasian creed put it, believe in three Gods, but one God. At the same time, the Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Holy Spirit. The Three in One and One in Three are united without confusion, but I’m afraid that when preachers start to talk about it they begin get a little confused, and so it’s probably something best not to talk too much about. But you can look at it — you can behold it, there, and in each other, as we reflect the Holy Trinity, God with us, in us, and through us.

This is the great mystery at the heart of the Christian faith. But as I say talking about it has gotten many a preacher into trouble. So I’ll stop while I’m ahead, and remind us that Jesus promised that Christians would be known by our love, not by our doctrine! Instead let me point us back to the primary lesson I hope you will carry away with you this morning.

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That is, that God made us in his image. That God made us to be like him. That God made us to be filled with the generous grace that suffers for the sake of the beloved. That God made us to be filled with the love that gives without reservation or qualification. And that God made us to be in communion with each other, joined in the bonds of affection through the instrument of God’s unity. May we be One in Christ as Christ is One with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all now and forever more.

Not From This World

God is not a king who rules by the threat of power, but a lover who empowers us by the gift of love.

Proper 29b • SJF • Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
Jesus said, “If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over... but as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Last week we reflected on the fact that no human being — Jesus Christ excepted — is quite like God. We are all, of course, like God in a few respects, having been made in God’s image. As the Catechism reminds us, right in the second question and answer, on page 845 of the Book of Common Prayer, this means that we, like God, are free: “free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason.”

Surely there is no doubt about God having these three attributes. “Reason” is God’s middle name, so to speak, for as theologians remind us, the Son of God is the Word of God — and that is the most meaningful and reasonable Word ever spoken: the Word through whom all things were made. In this we recognize God as the Creator of all that is and could possibly be. And as John the evangelist reminds us again and again, Love is at the very heart of who God is.

We human beings share in these capacities to love, create, and reason — but you can see at once that human likeness to God is limited in each one of these capacities. As I said in the sermon last week, “No man works like him.”

And as with God, so with God’s kingdom. The kingdom of God is similar in some respects to earthly kingdoms, but ultimately so different from all of them that even thinking in such terms could be less than profitable, if we get hold of the wrong end of the stick. Of course, that did not stop people from thinking about the kingdom of God in very earthly terms throughout most of human history. The form that Messiah takes in the Jewish tradition is precisely that of a king. Messiah in Hebrew, and Christ in Greek, both mean “anointed one” — and this refers to the fact that the way a person is made a king in the Jewish tradition — and in most others — is by being anointed. You may remember, for example, how God chose David out of all the sons of Jesse and sent Samuel the prophet to anoint him as king with holy oil, after Saul (whom Samuel had also anointed king at God’s instruction) turned out not to be a faithful ruler after God’s own heart, and willing to submit to God’s instruction and commandment.

Our reading this morning from the book of Daniel shows that this idea of God, and God’s kingdom, was still very much in vogue in the centuries before the coming of Christ, and even up through and into the time of his ministry. Daniel portrays what amounts to a coronation scene in which the one “like a human being” — or “like a son of man” as the older translation has it — comes before the Ancient One, the one Ancient in Days, to be invested with all authority over all the nations of the earth. And you will recall that the disciples asked Jesus if the time was coming when he would establish his kingdom in Jerusalem. The disciples saw the kingdom of God in very literal terms — an anointed King sitting on a physical throne in a particular earthly kingdom.

So strong is this image of God as a kind of super-king — a King of kings and Lord of Lords — that it persisted well into the life of the early church, as attested in that reading from the Revelation to John. That vision portrays God’s heavenly court as being much like an earthly court; the only difference being that Jesus is the ruler over all the kings of the earth.

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And so he is — I do not want to deny by any means that the Son of God is King of kings and Lord of lords. But I want to remind us that this is an image, a metaphor. It doesn’t particularly well speak to us in our days, anyway, when there are very few kings sitting on earthly thrones anywhere. God is not simply the boss of bosses, the capo de tutti capi as they would say in the Godfather. God is much more than that, but also different from that. There is a danger in seeing God as simply the biggest, the best, the boss, the most powerful ruler, or even as just “the supreme being.” And the reason for this is that it doesn’t well jibe with what the Catechism tells us about God — that the primary attributes of God reflected here on earth are freedom, reason, and love — not compulsion and power.

And this is in part what Jesus was getting at when he told Pilate that his kingdom “is not from the world.” His kingdom is not a kingdom of one power dominating all other powers. No, his kingdom is a kingdom based on truth — and here we must understand truth not just as a collection of all things that are true, a collection of facts, but rather as something about the ultimate reality of all that is — something about the being of God rather than merely the power of God. It is not so much that God is in control of things, a power working over other powers, but that God is the source of all life and light and power that any thing has.

This is what is meant when John the Divine reports, a few chapters on from today’s passage, that the heavenly creatures sing out: “Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God, for you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and have their being.” The kingly power of God is not that of an invading general conquering someone else’s territory; it is the gracious authority of the one who holds all things by right, not by compulsion.

For God is not only the creator of all that is, but the sustainer of it: were God to withdraw his loving care from the universe for an instant, were God to turn his gaze away or blink his all-seeing eye, all that is would simply cease to be — for God is the ground of all being, the source and sustainer of all that is, all things being created and sustained by the left and the right hands of reason and love.

This can help us understand on the one hand the nature of God’s creative reason — for he is the Word of Truth, the truth of everything that is. God is not simply reasonable in the sense of being intelligible or logical — God is the very basis of what makes Reason what it is — why cause follows effect and one and one make two. God is not just the Great Because; God is the Great Why.

But above all, and on the other hand, and again as John reminds us again and again, God is love — not just the love of affection and friendship and fellowship, not even just as the most loving being — but as the sustaining cause and end and purpose of all love. God is not a king who rules by the threat of power, but a lover who empowers us by the gift of love.

Perhaps no one understood this better than Dame Julian of Norwich, a great saint of the English Middle Ages. In her Revelations of Divine Love she wrote of God speaking to her; and the form of God that she saw was the wounded Christ on the Cross. And that Christ on the Cross spoke to her, in these words:

I am he, the might and goodness of fatherhood; I am he, the wisdom and the lovingness of motherhood; I am he, the light and the grace which is all blessèd love; I am he, the Trinity; I am he, the Unity; I am he, the great supreme goodness of every kind of thing; I am he who makes you to love; I am he who fills you with desire; and I am he, the endless fulfilling of all true desires.

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Is God a king, even King of kings? Yes, so God is. But that kingdom is not from this world — it is to this world. For the love of God is not based on God needing anything, but having everything, so that all is a gift, a gift of freedom, reason and love, given to us by the one who took our nature upon, that we might grow into his nature; one who died for us, that we might live in him. So let us give glory to God, our true King and our Lord, to whom all might, majesty, power and dominion — and all freedom, peace and love — be now and evermore ascribed, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Watch and Listen

SJF • Trinity 2011 • Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness...”+

We come today to Trinity Sunday, the day on which we are invited to think about who God is rather than what God has done — although with that wonderful reading of the story of creation from Genesis still in our ears, there is ample opportunity to reflect upon what God has done!

Thinking about the Trinity is something that theologians just can’t seem to get enough of. They also often don’t know when to stop! There are distinct dangers in trying too hard to understand what is beyond our comprehension. It’s especially hard if one has a curious and inquiring mind.

I learned the danger in that as a child of six when I tried to dismantle my mother’s wristwatch — all that exercise got me was a hopelessly damaged watch, and going to bed without supper and with a sore behind and, and an earnest talk from my father trying to explain — in terms that my child’s mind could understand — how much more valuable my mother’s Hamilton wristwatch was than even all of my toys put together. Strange to say, after all that, I still became a theologian!

But maybe it was because of that. Perhaps it was my father’s willingness to offer an explanation that did it. And surely it is good on this day which is Father’s Day as well as Trinity Sunday, for me to remember and give thanks for my own father, God rest him. For even though he gave me a good shellacking after my misdeed with the watch, he also took the time to explain what that watch was worth in terms I could understand. He didn’t teach me anything about its mechanism — which I as a child had vainly sought by taking it apart. But he did teach me about its value — and surely that is what a good theologian is called to do, especially when it comes to the Trinity.

As my father sat on the edge of my bed while I pouted under the covers, he held up one of my toys, a wind-up tank, and said, “Toby, do you understand that your mother’s watch cost more than a hundred of these?” I was awe-struck. A hundred tanks! What an armored division that would make! All the toy soldiers in my plastic army would not be able to stand up against such an assault! And it slowly dawned on me, How awesome is the value of that tiny wristwatch. I did not learn how the wristwatch worked, but how valuable it was.

My father took the time to explain the value of that watch in terms I could understand and in the form of a metaphor — a parable, if you will. My father taught me how to teach.

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And I pass along this teaching. God is not to be taken apart in the vain search to understand how God works. Rather God is someone to be supremely valued — valued as worth more than all creation. Even after we have taken in all of creation, in awesome wonder, our final word should be, How great thou art!

God is to be supremely valued, and loved — and listened to. God is, after all, more like my father than like my mother’s watch. Not only did I learn more from my father than from the watch, but my father showed his love for me — even though at the time the discipline was painful! — especially in taking the time to teach and help me to see where I had gone wrong. God is not to be dismantled, but to be listened to — and listened for.

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Author James Hamilton tells a story that resonates with my own childhood. In the suburb where I grew up some people still didn’t have refrigerators. Many had moved to Baltimore from the mountains of West Virginia to get jobs in the post-war boom, and they brought their iceboxes with them. The iceman would still come down the alley behind our houses with his horse-drawn ice-wagon, selling slabs of ice just the right size to slide into the compartment of the icebox — do any of you here still call your refrigerator an “icebox?” My father always did — in spite of the fact that he worked his way through night-school — studying to become a school-teacher — in the appliance department at Sears! So even though we had a Kenmore in the kitchen, it was always the “icebox” in our house.

The ice in the wagon came from the icehouse, where it was made and stored. Our neighborhood icehouse made the ice with a compressor, but back in the old days they would harvest it in the winter from the frozen river near which it stood. The slabs of ice would be covered with canvas and sawdust until it was time to deliver them. The long, low icehouse had no windows, and the thick door sealed shut to keep the coolness in. The ice would be secure there behind those well-insulated walls.

Well, one midsummer day, one of the workers in the icehouse discovered he’d lost his pocket-watch. It had been left to him by his father, and he was really upset to lose it. He searched up and down, pushing the sawdust with the big broom they used, but with no luck. The other guys helped him, but they couldn’t find the watch; and then they began to wonder if maybe he hadn’t lost it somewhere else.

Kids such as myself used to hang around the icehouse, especially in the hot, humid Baltimore summer, because when the men loaded the ice on the wagons with the big, scary metal pincers, occasionally a block would drop and shatter, and the kids would scramble for the sliding shards of ice, to rub on their forehead or the back of the neck, or to let the cool water drip over their heads. (I could use one right now!)

One of the kids was watching and listening to the men looking for the missing watch, and when they went off on their lunch break, shaking their heads and shrugging, he snuck into the icehouse, and closed the door behind him.

The dim light bulbs were spaced far apart, and even with them on there wasn’t much light; all to keep the ice from melting. The air was cool and he could see his breath, the first time he’d seen it in six months. And it was very, very quiet. The thick walls and sealed out all the heat and all the sound. He looked around at the stacked-up blocks of ice, like building stones mortared with sawdust, covered with canvas shrouds. He imagined he was inside the Great Pyramid, a silent, ancient tomb.

He saw a flat spot in the sawdust about his size, went over to it, and laid himself down; he folded his hands across his chest and closed his eyes thinking about Boris Karloff in The Mummy and keeping very, very still. And in that stillness, he could hear the sounds that ice makes as it gently creaks, and the drip-drip-drip of the water as it slowly melts off. But soon he began to hear another sound. Tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick.

And after a few moments of careful listening, he got up and walked across the sawdust to right where the watch had fallen, stuck half under the edge of a slab of ice, wedged tight in a fold of the canvas and covered with sawdust. All of the men’s searching and sweeping had only pushed it deeper. And when he emerged into the bright summer afternoon, even though squinting against the sun, he greeted the astonished iceman with the watch he thought he’d never see again. And as a reward he broke him off a nice fresh corner of a slab of ice, just for him, pure sweet cooling ice that had never touched the ground.

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If God is like a watch — he’s more like that one. We won’t find God by sweeping up a sawdust storm of theological speculation. As the Psalmist says, I will still my soul and make it quiet like a child upon its mother’s breast; or, as I will add, this Father’s Day, like a child in its father’s arms. God is holding us close, and loves us dearly, this unsearchable and sublimely valuable God of ours, and all we need do is listen — listen — and we will hear the beat of the heart of the One-in-Three who called the whole world into being. Listen! Upon that breast, and in those loving arms, we are carried day by day, by this loving God whom we know by Name as the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.+

Who Has Known?

SJF • Proper 16a • Tobias Haller BSG
How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord?

Thomas Aquinas was one of the most brilliant minds of his generation. He is also considered by many to be the greatest systematic theologian ever to have written. Theology is, as another great theologian, Saint Anslem, said, “faith seeking understanding.” But a systematic theologian is not just someone who wants simply understanding guided by faith, or who sketches out a few articles, or writes a few books. A systematic theologian wants to cover all the bases.

And Thomas Aquinas very nearly did it. His great work was called Summa Theologica, which could be loosely translated as “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about God and just about Everything Else”! In its thirty-eight treatises, thousands of articles, tens of thousands of responses to every conceivable objection, Thomas Aquinas set out to systematize all of knowledge in his search for God.

This great work remains unfinished, however. Oh, Thomas didn’t die before completing it. On the contrary, he stopped work on it at the very height of his productivity.

Why? Well, one day in early December 1273, Thomas, who was a Dominican priest, was celebrating the Holy Eucharist. And by the way, a Dominican in this case isn’t somebody from the Dominican Republic, but a member of the order of Saint Dominic — an order founded specifically for the purpose of preaching and study — and Thomas Aquinas was one of the best.

Well, that early December day Thomas was celebrating the Eucharist, and in the midst of the service, he stopped cold — or perhaps I should say, stopped warm. For something he couldn’t describe — even with his remarkable ability to categorize and elucidate — something happened to him in the midst of that holy sacrament, something so amazing it completely overpowered him. He caught a glimpse of the infinite God he had tried so hard to pin down, and he decided never to write again. Hisfaithful secretary tried to encourage him to take up the work again, to bring his monumental work to completion. How much more might he perfect it in light of his recent experience! But Thomas replied, “I can do no more. Such things have been revealed to me that all I have written now seems to me to be like so much straw.”

Like his namesake, Thomas the Apostle, Thomas Aquinas saw something that made all of his questions fall apart, as he fell to his knees in adoration of his Lord and his God. The one who had spent most of his life picking things apart, dividing them up into categories and organizing them into systems, confronted the One before whose utter unity and singularity all his systematic complexity collapsed like a house of straw.

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Paul wrote to the Romans, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord?” Who has known? Thomas tried to know the mind of the Lord, and what the Lord showed him that cold December morning, made him realize he didn’t know anything at all! Everything he thought he knew turned out to be so much mattress stuffing, the labor of his life turned into dust.

But don’t misunderstand this story. Thomas wasn’t unhappy about this development. On the contrary, he treasured it. Because, in addition to his effort to know God, Thomas had also devoted himself to another effort, an effort to love God.

In addition to the dense philosophical argumentation of his theological works, Thomas also wrote poetry, spiritual poetry in the form of love-songs to God. Nowadays the pages of the Summa Theologica are rarely opened outside the walls of seminaries and philosophy departments — in fact, between Fordham University and Saint James Parish, I’d be willing to venture that Thomas Aquinas’ name is spoken more in this little corner of the Bronx than almost anywhere else! But the love-songs, ah, the love songs Thomas wrote are still sung in churches all around the world. Five of them are included in our own EpiscopalHymnal, and we’ll be singing one of them at the offertory today. These hymns attempt to capture that longing for the invisible, incomprehensible divinity who lies invitingly beyond our reach, beyond our grasp — but not beyond our love and worship.

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We do not know what Thomas saw during the Holy Eucharist that December day, but I’d be willing to venture that God rewarded this faithful seeker more because of his love than his intellect; rewarded him with a glimpse of the unseen verity he had so long humbly adored. It was Thomas the lover, not Thomas the theologian, who finally caught a glimpse of his beloved Lord, and one look was enough to do him in. He saw his Lord in the very bread and wine he had lifted up day by day. It was in the Holy Eucharist that the weak human intellect, and weaker human senses of taste, touch, and vision, were overwhelmed by the outpoured Love of God, the veil was parted, and Thomas beheld that Love, however briefly, face-to-face.

And so can we. We cannot all be theologians, at least not systematic ones. And, thank God, we needn’t be; we aren’t expected to. But we can all love God. What is more, we can share in this holy mystery, this precious gift of the Holy Eucharist, in which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ assures us that he is present. Here at this earthly altar we taste heavenly food, as Jesus gives us his Body and Blood, this spiritual food and drink of new and unending life in him.

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Years ago, when I was beginning to consider giving up my career in the theater to serve the church, an actor friend of mine told me he thought I was making a terrible mistake. He was an agnostic, a rather badly burned ex-Roman Catholic who had lived through the worst of a very restrictive upbringing. He didn’t believe in God — but did believe in flying saucers. He thought humanity was created and guided by space aliens, for some reason known only to them. He was always full of the latest news on sightings of space ships, as proof of the existence of the aliens he believed in instead of God. One day I told him I really didn’tput much stock in the whole theory of aliens, and he said, “O.K., then, when was the last time Jesus appeared?” Almost at once I said, “Last Sunday morning, on the altar at Trinity Episcopal Church!” So perhaps it is fitting that he finally got a recurring role
in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I ended up here!

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Whether space aliens have been here or not, I trust that Jesus has been here, and is here, and will be here, till even this type and shadow ends and ceremonies cease, and we behold the glory unabated, face to face. That is the truth, if we are prepared, with loving hearts, to accept it. Jesus comes to us today, hidden with, in and under bread and wine. We are granted a glimpse of Christ’s presence, a glimpse granted to those who love him, to those who seek him, and who seeking, loving, find.

I would like to end this sermon with the words of Thomas Aquinas, the words of one of his love songs to God written about eight years before his life-changing experience of 1273. The song ends like this:

Jesus, whom now hidden, I by faith behold,
what my soul doth long for, that thy word foretold:
face to face thy splendor, I at last shall see,
in the glorious vision, blessed Lord, of thee.

Never give up looking for God — who has never given up on you. Seek, and love, and you shall find.+