"The one great purpose of the Church's existence is to share the bread of Life...to hold open in its words and actions a place where we can be with Jesus and be channels of his free, unanxious, utterly demanding, grown-up love...Once we recognize God's great secret, that we are all made to be God's sons and daughters, we can't avoid the call to see one another differently."
"The Church of the future, I believe, will do both its prophetic and its pastoral work effectively only if it is concerned first with gratitude and joy; orthodoxy flows from this, not the other way round, and we don't solve our deepest problems just by better discipline, but by better discipleship, a fuller entry into the intimate joy of Jesus life." (Both paragraphs from Rowan Williams, Enthronement Sermon, quoted in Rupert Shortt, Rowan's Rule, 260-61).
Two different ways of expressing an incarnational theology - both centred on Jesus Christ, whose active and redemptive presence in the world is embodied in the Church, the Body of Christ. To live out that redemptive love, in generous gift, courageous witness, persistent hope and attractive joyfulness - that is Christ's call and demand - accompanied and enabled by the promise of his presence, his real presence.
Thanks to all of you who have stopped by here in the past year, to share, read, think, and pray. The consensus of the commentators seems to be that 2009 is going to be harder than 2008. Maybe so. To go into that future as a Church called to reconfigure its structural life in a post Christian culture; requiring to repent of past self-concern and learn again the way of sacrifice; urged to reconsider how to follow after Christ more faithfully, and thus to depend more trustfully on the God who has come to us in Christ - well there's enough to be going on with. But wherever we go, and whenever we gather in Jesus' name and scatter in his service, there we find the Risen Lord, and the love of God, and life whatever it brings, to be lived in the power of the Spirit of Christ.
One of the highlights of my year was the vist to Edinburgh to view Caravaggio's calling of Peter and Andrew. Against a dark background a young Jesus calls older disciples to come after him, into a future to which he points - but which they, and we, can't see. Scary stuff this discipleship.