Basil

Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all “fullness of blessing,” both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise, through faith, seeing their reflection as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment.

Sins against the Holy Spirit and against God are the same; and thus you might learn that in every operation the Spirit is closely conjoined with, and inseparable from, the Father and the Son. God works the differences of operations, and the Lord the diversities of administrations, but all the while the Holy Spirit is present too of His own will, dispensing distribution of the gifts according to each recipient’s readiness

Saint Basil On the Holy Spirit

See also SaintsAnglican, Orthodox

Love

It is perhaps our usual assumption that we exist first, and then that we love. But let us imagine that our existence depends on our relationship with those we love. The more we love, or the more we are loved, the more existence or reality we acquire. Our being derives from the company of those who love us, and if they begin to love us less, we begin to disappear. Love is not a passion or emotion. Love is communion, made up of those relationships that give us our existence. Only love can continue to sustain us when all the material threads of life are broken and we are without any other support. If these threads are not reconnected we cease to exist; death is the snapping of the last thread. Love, or communion with other persons, is stronger than death and is the source of our existence. That ‘God is love‘ means that God is the communion of this holy trinity. God the Father would lose his identity and being if he did not have the Son. If we took away the communion of the trinity to make God a unit, God would not be communion and therefore would not be love.

John Zizioulas Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

The rule of Christ

When we refer to the remembering of the future we part ways with the whole Western intellectual tradition. The Church confesses that Holy Spirit brings the future breaking in to history. Our kingdoms are founded on opposition to one another, each kingdom is in competition with every other. The peace of God, sustained by the rule of God, breaks into the conflict of all partial kingdoms. The Holy Spirit invades the territory we hold against all others, and brings us into the rule and the peace of God. ‘In these last days, I shall pour forth from My Spirit, upon every flesh.’ The Spirit brings all other rules and kingdoms, under the rule of Christ which brings the peace of Christ by which all things are reconciled and made peaceful. Christ brings the rule and peace of God into history. Pentecost is the fulfilment of all times.

Though many Christians assume that Pentecost and the Holy Spirit illuminate them personally, enabling them to grasp the events of history and so grow in knowledge of Christ, but this is only a partial understanding. The Spirit carries us into a new and much larger dimension, in which we are freed of all the various confinements that hold us within our individual histories or the histories of our nation or social group. The Spirit draws us into the vastly larger dimensions given by the future, in which we are free to be fully present to one another, each of us to all others without limit. The life the Holy Spirit gives us is not divided, but all at once, so for the first time we may live simultaneous to one another, in communion not delimited by space or time.

John Zizioulas Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

Law and Islam

The Lawyers Christian Fellowship and Christian Concern for our Nation are holding a day conference on 28th January

The legal challenges faced by Islam: How should the church respond?

Democracy in the UK and worldwide is being challenged by a new force – that of militant Islam. This conference will look at some of the issues involved in how national and international law can confront this issue, as well as what the appropriate response of the church should be.

Speakers include:

Baroness Caroline Cox – president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Dr Sam Solomon – Global expert on Islam and sharia law.

Paul Diamond and Charlotte Thorneycroft

Liturgy shapes Christians

Christians shape the liturgy, but the liturgy shapes Christians.

The classical model of formation, paideia, understood formation to be the drawing out of the person. Placed alongside the Christian experience of vocation, it can be seen in terms of our becoming, in community with others and in communion with God, the person that God is calling us to be. In baptism we are made a child of God; in giving ourselves to praise we discover something of the liberty of the children of God, and through Christ’s self-gift at communion, we again ‘become what we receive’ (Augustine of Hippo). This is why worship is the most intense, though not the exclusive locus of Christian formation, and for this reason liturgical formation and education should be given the highest priority within a ‘learning church’. The desired outcome of a programme of liturgical formation is a closer engagement of worshippers in the liturgy of the Church, and its corollary is the realization of the expectation that liturgy will transform us.

Transforming Worship: Report of the Liturgical Commission

To suffer out of love is fundamental for humanity

To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves — these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself.

Are we capable of this? Is the other important enough to warrant my becoming, on his account, a person who suffers? Does truth matter to me enough to make suffering worthwhile? Is the promise of love so great that it justifies the gift of myself? In the history of humanity, it was the Christian faith that had the particular merit of bringing forth within man a new and deeper capacity for these kinds of suffering that are decisive for his humanity. The Christian faith has shown us that truth, justice and love are not simply ideals, but enormously weighty realities. It has shown us that God —Truth and Love in person—desired to suffer for us and with us. Bernard of Clairvaux coined the marvellous expression: Impassibilis est Deus, sed non incompassibilis — God cannot suffer, but he can suffer with. Man is worth so much to God that he himself became man in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way.

Benedict XVI Spe Salvi (39).

Refusal to meet – refusal of the cross

How then should the Lambeth Conference be viewed? It is not a canonical tribunal, but neither is it merely a general consultation. It is a meeting of the chief pastors and teachers of the Communion, seeking an authoritative common voice. It is also a meeting designed to strengthen and deepen the sense of what the episcopal vocation is.

Some reactions to my original invitation have implied that meeting for prayer, mutual spiritual enrichment and development of ministry is somehow a way of avoiding difficult issues. On the contrary: I would insist that only in such a context can we usefully address divisive issues. If, as the opening section of this letter claimed, our difficulties have their root in whether or how far we can recognise the same gospel and ministry in diverse places and policies, we need to engage more not less directly with each other. This is why I have repeatedly said that an invitation to Lambeth does not constitute a certificate of orthodoxy but simply a challenge to pray seriously together and to seek a resolution that will be as widely owned as may be.

And this is also why I have said that the refusal to meet can be a refusal of the cross – and so of the resurrection. We are being asked to see our handling of conflict and potential division as part of our maturing both as pastors and as disciples. I do not think this is either an incidental matter or an evasion of more basic questions.

Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter

Many jurisdictions in one territory

These three ecclesiologies are, in order of their historical appearance, rite�based ecclesiologies (Catholic), confessional ecclesiologies (Protestant), and ethnically based ecclesiologies (Orthodox).

These three ecclesiologies, are essentially of the same nature: that is, they are established according to aggressive, almost militant, principles. Moreover, they have dominated Church life since their appearance and also determined the statutory texts that regulate the existence and functioning of all Churches since that day.

We are now in a position to reâ€?examine the causes that brought about these ecclesiological deviations. While very different in their origin and outlook, they resemble one another, and also continue to coexist, though without creating any communion or unity between them. A key common denominator is what I shall call ‘coâ€?territorality’, i.e.: separate Churches sharing the same territory. This is an extremely serious problem found throughout the second millennium – the same millennium that has faced numerous insoluble issues of an exclusively ecclesiological nature. By contrast, the first millennium, which had to deal with Christological issues, resolved most of them. In other words, when Christological problems appeared during the first millennium, the
Church was able to engage with them and resolve them in a conciliar manner, but we have not been able to do the same with the
ecclesiological problems that have arisen in the second millennium.

These three divergent ecclesiologies, which developed from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, have essentially led the Church into a postâ€?ecclesiological age, in which we now live. We seek superficial solutions, whether through Councils like Vatican II, which proposed an increase in ecumenism, or through increasing efforts to federalise the Protestant Churches, or even by the fruitless attempt to summon a panâ€?Orthodox Council, which has been in preparation, to no avail, for almost half a century. It is certain that the true solution will neither be ritualist, nor ecumenist, nor confessional, nor federal – and it will certainly not be ethnic and multiâ€?jurisdictional. It can only be ecclesiological and canonical, and this is perhaps why it seems to be so distant (if not utopian) in today’s age of of Christian modernism that remains woefully nonâ€?ecclesiological and multiâ€?jurisdictional.

Archimandrite Grogorios Our ‘Post-Ecclesiological’ Age

Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount and Christian Ethics – a conference 5th-7th September, Wescott House, Cambridge

Presenters include:

Oliver O’Donovan
Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology
Edinburgh University

Glen Stassen
Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics
Fuller Theological Seminary

Susan Parsons
President, Society Study of Christian Ethics
Editor, Studies in Christian Ethics

Carolyn Muessig
Senior Lecturer in Medieval Theology
University of Bristol

Richard Bauckham
Professor Emeritus of New Testament
University of St Andrews

The conference committee invite short papers related to the theme of the event and more general outlines of work in progress

For further details and booking arrangements will appear at:
www.ssce.org.uk