Monday, March 23, 2015

No More Can We Merit Salvation

No more can we merit salvation than we can merit creation. Doing, on our part, cannot generate being, for ourselves, whether in creation or in salvation. For us, being ontologically precedes doing, in creation and in re-creation. Grace preceded, grounded, and stamped created being in once-pristine existence; afterward, in now-sullied existence, grace again precedes, grounds, and stamps re-created being. We receive both first being in creation and second being in re-creation. Hence, engendered in and by grace, which we accept and take up by faith, when first made and then re-made by God, in living well or doing good we act in and from thanks and praise. Living well or doing good was always, is now, and ever will be that which proceeds from and expresses our being and "re-being" in God, never that which has any virtue to achieve either existence. We live because God first "lived" us. Then, we love because God first loved us.

Monday, March 16, 2015

To What Community Do We Belong?

To what community do we fundamentally belong? For followers of Jesus, the Church is that community. Our identity and allegiance root in and stem from our being in the Church. Certainly other communities to which we belong – nation, race, clan, gender, language, party, occupation, affinity, and more – shape and even "claim" us to greater or lesser degrees. Yet we must understand and pursue our essential belonging, our paramount and therefore focal identity and allegiance, in and through the community of the Church. We must subordinate, and in some ways and instances even refuse, claims from those other communities on our identity and allegiance, on our very life. To the extent we seek and experience the true commonweal of this world and of our individual life in it – trust and hope and love, and truth and beauty and goodness – we must do so fundamentally within and from the community, the society, which is the Church, which is ultimately the kingdom of God.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rain to Ice to Rain

After yesterday's storm with sleet and freezing rain, I went out early this morning, with great care, to walk around the neighborhood. While it was challenging due to the slippery conditions, it was lovely to see the play of emerging light on form and color as twilight yielded to the first of sun. Yesterday rain from the clouds turned to ice and froze on exposed surfaces, especially the trees. Today, as sun dazzled the branches, ice returned to rain under trees.