Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hebrews 5:11 - 6:8

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
Of the doctrine and baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
And this we will do, if God permit.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

Once is enough

For infants, the milk: Be born again in the waters of baptism. Receive the Holy Spirit, and enter into communion with the Trinity. Believe in Christ. Confess the faith. Taste the good word of God; begin to partake of the Holy Ghost.

For adults, the meat: Fast and pray. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, comfort the comfortless. Watch your heart. Repent reflexively, confess often. Continuously taste and partake of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sell all that you have and give it to the poor. Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

In your baptism, you are crucified with Christ, once and for all. No matter what evil you do, no matter how cruelly you sin, you cannot undo your baptism any more that you can uncrucify Christ. Death has been conquered, and nothing you can do will change that. You may want to start over; you may want to lay off the meat and go back to the milk. But milk is for infants, and you have been weaned.

You're not a baby any more. Deal.

Friday, December 23, 2005

2 Tim 4: 9-22

Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
And Tychichus have I sent to Ephesus.
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Alexander and the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and the Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.


The Christian life is not one of solitary devotion. Our faith, though intensely personal, is nonetheless extraordinarily communal. We are a body, and we depend on one another.

Do not forget the importance of news. Opinion is an individual thing; feelings are exclusive and solitary. News belongs to the body, and if the body is to thrive it needs to know how its members are faring.

Our strained and distant world opposes regular news. Often we live thousands of miles away from our loved ones; even our parishes are filled with solitary commuters. We do not interfere in the lives of others; they do not interfere in our lives, and for reward our relationships are cold and formal. To be cut off and isolated is the norm. To stay in touch requires diligence, humility, and effort.

But we must remember those who love us. We must thank those who serve us. We must not forget even those who do us evil.

Write often. Visit soon. Greet the friends, forget none, and entreat the distant beloved to return.