I delivered a sermon at RUF UCLA at the kind invitation of Rev. Matthew Trexler. I chose to write about the (not very often discussed) scene in Luke 4 when Jesus visited the synagogue of his youth in Nazareth to deliver a message. I ask whether or not it has any relevance for our lives today.
C.S. Lewis narrates the psychology of self-deception in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He presents an ambiguous anthropology that is distinctly non-Augustinian, where deviance and wickedness are divorced from inherent evil: “You mustn’t think that even now Edmund was quite so bad that he actually wanted his brother and sisters to be turned into stone. He did want Turkish Delight and to be a Prince (and later a King) and to pay Peter out for calling him a beast. As for what the Witch would do with the others, he didn’t want her to be particularly nice to them…
Buzzfeed published a video entitled , “If You Talked To People The Way You Talk To Yourself.” It’s a humorous (and naturally, explicit) portrayal of an imagined—also shocking—transition between our private moments of self deprecation to the world of placing that shame and guilt on other people. We’d never tell someone, “Your parents aren’t proud of you,” but we insist on thinking it about ourselves, even in spite of their assurances to the contrary.
What’s wrong with the sentence, “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth?” ***
What does it mean to be saved? It is a tautology to state that salvation implies being fully human. To be fully human means, precisely, that one is saved, and to be saved is to be caught up in the always forever embrace of God the Father, all the while moving deeper into the heart of Jesus Christ.
In a helpful companion, The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Robert Frost, its editor Harold Bloom describes William Morris (1834–1896) as a “gifted lyrical and narrative poet.” It’s an uncontroversial description but perhaps a tad laconic, as is the rest of his two paragraph summary of Morris’ poetic reputation. Nevertheless, Bloom’s selection contains what I believe to be a quite under-rated poem, his “A Garden by the Sea,” reproduced below.
In blistering poverty, in the agony of childbirth, in the shadow of the doubt of men, in the brokenness of the cosmos, did Mary give birth to the Son of God. The deepest darkness that was caught under the spell of the heaviest curse found itself whispered into by the smallest of lights.