Mark 15:22-32 (NRSV)

Mark’s stark version of the crucifixion is the lesson at Evensong today. There’s a lot of controversy about what Atonement means -nothing at all new there – but if it means nothing much than an ethical program, we don’t seem to offer much in Christ to the proposing young terrorist, to whom life-giving in the context of killing others, is the gateway to heaven and the services of heavenly prostitutes.

If we, in a fit of enormous charity, suggest that in all important matters, all religions say the same thing, are we selling short our own Gospel and its power to transform whole individuals? If we merely suggest an ethical program of self-denial, and suggest parallels in other Sacred Writings, are we not merely tarted up Pelagians? Mind you Pelagius was a severe old Brit, so perhaps we aren’t even Pelagians.

Does not the Gospel propose to those whose behaviors threaten themselves and worst still others “the power of God unto salvation,” a restorative and forgiving process achieved by a daily application of infused love by the merits and death of Jesus? Jesus really said nothing new. What he did was new and because it was to most people obscene, a scandal, it remains an enormous and staggering proposal. It is obscene to willingly die for others when one has the power to save oneself, even to propose another less painful and ethical way pehaps to save others. After all what of Jesus’ responsibility to his mother, brethren and friends? What of leaving a new Movement in the hands of incompetants -thus apostolic succession! Yet he surrenders to corrupt clergy and politicians and dies, wherefore He is now highly exalted, to whom every knee shall bow.

Moral and ethical proposals are vital, but to offer them as a substitute for wrong-headed self-sacrifice seems daft. The terrorist has a supporting community and believes he or she has God’s blessing and so sets a bomb off in a market. Because Jesus died and rose again, we have a supporting community, living and dead, the Church and are assured of daily Grace and Forgiveness because Jesus allowed himself to be killed on a hill far away. That’s the Gospel. To give one’s life to such a saviour is perhaps still an extraordinary proposal particularly if by so doing we may also “save” others in the market place.


Brothers and Sisters:

I want to commend to you all a new, well, I suppose it is a blog site,
but I hope and pray rather more than the term implies:

It is a site born in hope and faith, and even some charity, for those who do not
want to see our church and the Communion torn apart, particularly but
not solely because of our mutual responsibility to our journeyers in
Baptism in other jurisdictions, churches and denominations for whom
Anglican anarchy cannot be anything but a dreadful blow to all
Christians have worked for for a century.

While I suspect that many of us endorse the idea of an Anglican Covenant, the title of this new forum is not connected to that concept. We will also welcome writers and readers from all parts of the Anglican spectrum who believe in the Anglican Communion and who find the Windsor Report, with all its imperfections, the best available road map for the immediate future. However the WR is not an Anglican formulary and it is good in a post-modern area not to use documents or even blog sites as a means to find comfort among those we think are like us in some way or another. From the outset Anglicanism, as a separate “face” in Christendom, has been a communion of the unlike bound together by liturgy and a common structure and sense of “place” rather than by confessional accord.

Covenant is also a small act of confidence in the God whose will is to
be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

You will recognize the names of some of the
contributors who threaten to write in the future and who endorse the
birth of “Covenant” at this particular moment. And if in your
conservatism, liberal or traditionalist, you do not wish to be
disturbed, do at least look at the site for its artistic and
structural qualities.

Please pray for those of us to whom this has become a faith-project of
significance. I pray that Covenant will become part of your experience
in the future.