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Monday, August 21, 2006

'Christianity is a Way of Life, Not a System'

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has given an excellent interview recently where he actually defined how the Church is inclusive and why the Western Church has not been able to meet the hunger in spirituality of many in the West. This particular answer struck at the heart of my own experiences of the past. Note the connection made here of lex orandi lex credendi. Liturgy shapes life! This deep mystery in worship is in great need of being explored and explained to the western individualistic mind. Liturgy shapes life and this is what Eucharistic worship is all about.

There is a hunger for spirituality in today's world and yet the Church doesn't seem able to connect. Do you have any idea why?
,,Maybe because in the West we have perceived Christianity as a system rather than a life. That is one of the things I have learned from my contacts with the Eastern Orthodox Church: belief is first of all a life and then a system. It begins with a renewed relationship with God as Father through Jesus Christ; we express that in liturgy and out of that comes theology. People find that in Taizé for example: faith is being lived there in a pattern of prayer and discipline. A second cause is, I think, that as a society why are so scared of commitment. We have such short term horizons, in almost everything. The notion that you commit yourself to Jesus Christ and to a community, for life and beyond, is very strange. People say: what do I get out of that? The gospel rather uncomfortably says: no, I'm sorry, the question is: what will you give? That is a big threshold. It is the same problem we face when it comes to marriage. People don't join political parties. So there is an enormous gap with culture. And the only way to bridge that gap - apart from the integrity of our own discipleship - is to convey that faith is an immense mystery, so mysterious and so rich that it will take your lifetime and longer to live into it.
Read it all here.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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