Sunday 6 March 2011

Accidental Heresy

Oh my brethren, such an effect as my preaching has had today.

I chose (for the sake of those of my congregation used to a "lectionary", out of charity, and not from the dead weight of law forcing me) the reading of the Transfiguration. But to show there was no blind following of the rules, I chose to use the reading from Mark. I am no slave to tradition.

But no soft words from me about "me-time" or "quality time" or "gazing on the face of the Lord" or "mountain-top experiences". I asked - is the message not clear? Our Lord, glowing in His real nature, casting away the hollow shell of His humanity, shines with the light of heaven. We, human, earthly clay can only look on Him in fear. We must repent in dust and ashes that He may, in His divinity, take pity on our poor, weak frames.

The congregation went away terrified, mortified and chastised. But leaving the chapel, a nagging doubt leapt into my mind. In haste I summoned up the voluminous folders of my Hope Springs Theological College Quick-Start Ministers' course. And found there a short passage on "Early Christian Heresy". And what have I done? I have preached - at the best - a form of Monophysitism - believing that the human nature of Our Lord was enveloped and absorbed into his divine one. At worst, I have preached Docetism - the belief that He only appeared to be human. I am an accidental heretic.

In the circumstances, I have no choice. I have been travelling the great distances between our congregation's homes (this was the week the Baptibus actually got to the chapel in time for the sermon) - knocking on their doors, begging their forgiveness and explaining where I went wrong. I have so far managed seven visits, and have another twenty to make - including some on the other side of Bedford. It will be a long night.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl