Tag Archives: Anglican

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Grounded 6

Let’s start with confession: I find virtual Masses unsatisfying. They provoke hunger without consummation. Fill my little screen with big Pentecostal preachers any day. In quarantine, watching pale priests sup together then fade out is a kind of fast.

Maybe that’s the point. On Good Friday we fast from Jesus because He’s gone, in the tomb. We feasted at table, leaned on His holy chest, and now…our realized hope is but a body memory. We ache for Him. We ache more now. Yes, He is Risen, but in Covid-9-time the light of Life shines on an extended Good Friday.

We hunger and our roots fan out. Pope Emeritus Benedict muses on how Catholics going without Eucharist for a time invites our love to plunge deeper. ‘Voluntary spiritual fasting visually expresses the fact that we all need that healing of love which the Lord perfected in the ultimate loneliness of the Cross. Sometimes we need to hunger…if we are to understand the suffering of hungering brothers.’ Those ‘brothers’ apply to all Christians who for a variety of reasons are not free to partake of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.

Since becoming a Catholic nine years ago, I have taken communion without my family. Daughter Katie joined me when she became Catholic a few years ago. Separate tables: nothing divides the fellowship of Christians like the Eucharist. A benefit in this ‘fast’ has been a deeper appreciation of the whole Body of Christ, and the traditions common to my evangelical (of many stripes) family members. In hunger I draw from their gifts and eat heartily.

Annette has cultivated a profound love of her Anglican tradition of Eucharist through leadership in Altar Guild where she shepherds and mobilizes devout women who care for the altar—its vessels and linens. Someone must set the table for Jesus and His people and these servants do it with exquisite care. Annette ached for her love of Jesus at altar during this quarantine. I was privileged to escort her into the church, darkened since early March, to strip the altar. This most solemn of annual events is typically reserved for Maundy Thursday. It was emotional, pregnant with meaning, as she carefully instructed me how to help her lay the altar bare in prep for reunion—His rising, and the congregation’s yet-to-be-determined next gathering.

For Holy Week, Annette and I thoroughly enjoyed our son Nick’s virtual version. Alongside his cohort Peter in Austin, the two laid a fine table—smart, funny, profound. Nick takes me to new depths. Afterwards, my other kids and I opened our Bibles to reflect upon the stunning humility, and hope, of Jesus’ self-giving.

We united in His love. He invited us and we encircled Him, as if for a few shining moments we partook of Jesus at the same table.


The Crucified rallied the nations last week in Kansas City; under the flood of His Divine Mercy, we wept for joy. Ecstasy. No better way to describe the 80 Living Waters leaders who gathered around His self-giving in order to offer themselves better to others.

Jesus gift to us at Calvary is accurately defined as ‘ecstatic’: its Greek root means ‘to come out of oneself.’ Jesus’ dying released a river of blood and water. His life source left Him and became the source of our lives, the transforming power that renders us new creatures. Together, His ecstatic gift unites us as one Body. On the cross, Jesus made us His bride. You could say He consummated that union for us through the ecstatic love that crescendo-ed at Calvary.

God reminded us of that consummation on last week’s Feast of St. Augustine, who wrote: ‘This second Adam [Jesus] bowed His head and fell asleep on the cross, that a spouse might be formed for Him from that which flowed from the sleeper’s side…What can be purer than such blood? What more health giving than such a wound?’

We needed healing from His ecstatic wound, cleansing and repair for our wounds. Many tribes and tongues came together—a variety of ages, cultural traditions, economic and educational backgrounds. Most obvious was the divide between Protestants and Catholics. Many of our leaders from fiercely Catholics nations barely know any Protestants; and the vast range of the latter—from Anglicans to Pentecostals–have an equally diverse range of opinions on Catholics!

Our wounds are a great leveler. One priest among us shared with dignity his sexual abuse by an early mentor; he welcomed an ecstatic outpouring from evangelicals who loved him well through a variety of spiritual gifts. Humbly offering our wounds to Jesus via His members invites a rich exchange of ecstatic love that dissolves some of our corporate divides. Ecstasy.

Personally, each of us brought our sins against chastity—as diverse as our Christian traditions. We are united in the conviction that the second Adam always points us back to the first Adam ((Matt. 19: 4-6); at the same time, Jesus points us forward to the glorious redemption of our bodies, radiant in full consummation with our Bridegroom. We live now ‘in-between’ the times: although certain of design–the ecstatic complementary gifts that God fashioned from Adam’s rib—we are also clear on the chaos incurred by sin in our frustrated, fractured efforts to ‘come out of ourselves.’ We have done so regrettably; we, bathed in ecstatic love, assess the damage done: adultery, abuse, addiction, SSA, gender self-rejection, mangled marriages, persons tempted by bitterness due to betrayal then prolonged, unwanted aloneness.

Many different divides and one cure—the Bridegroom consummating love with us and releasing the flood that keeps our heart soft and straight, ready to tell the truth of sorrows and shame but more than that, how the ecstatic mercy of our Bridegroom is mounting, growing, its waters rising in our personal temples (Ezekiel 47) as we throw open the doors and windows and allow others to witness how His loving kindness has shattered the enemy’s design for us.

Our hearts speak truth—we at Living Waters are the first to declare our sin so that the triumph of mercy might extend to a weaker brother or sister. It does! We rejoiced in the epistle reading last week in which St. Paul exhorts us to turn from all sexual immorality as such sin exploits our sisters and brothers (1 Thess. 4: 3-8).

How liberating to hear God’s Word and to go boldly to the throne of grace, allowing the fire of mercy to burn off the deception that immoral acts are fine if each party consents. Lies that we have lived! We now want only to edify, not exploit, the weaker member! We wept as He rained mercy, not judgment, upon our corporate repentance.

As the nations shared of the impact of Living Waters, it was clear that this ecstatic witness of hope amid heinous sins had loosed a river throughout churches that is unstoppable. Instead of shame, the peoples of the earth are receiving a double portion of joy and favor (Is. 61:7), and ‘where that river flows, everything shall live!’ (Ez. 47:9).

His ecstatic love for us produces ecstasy. We live now to come out of ourselves and prepare a more robust, pure Bride for the One who gave all to gain us. No other way to live. No other way we want to live. His ecstatic love is better than any other way of life.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’


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