Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Us Lions

   I remember a conversation between me and one of my pastor friends (yes, they do exist) in the bookstore on the CTS seminary a decade or so ago.  I had been looking at some book, and I said something (I can't remember what exactly) about how our parishioners had such a reticence and repulsion to, not only the Saints, but the very idea that their own pastors stood in the exact footsteps, and held the identical OFFICE, of Saint Peter, Saint James, Saint Matthew et al.  My friend agreed and then opined and said: "and yet they hear us week after week saying: ' virtue of my the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ...'"  Indeed, we Icon Christ but have a difficult time convincing others that we are in the Apostolic band (where are our Bishops when we need them  :)  ).

   I love C.S. Lewis and re-read much of his canon periodically.  In my heart I am an honorary member of the Penvensie family.  One of my favorite scenes in his sublime THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, comes near the end right before the final battle between Aslan and the forces of the White Witch. And I quote:

   "Of course," said Aslan, "And now! Those who can't keep up--that is, children, dwarfs, and small animals--must ride on the backs of those who can--that is, lions, centaurs,unicorns, horses, giants and eagles.  Those who are good with their noses must come in the front with us lions to smell out where the battle is.  Look lively and sort yourselves.
    And with a great deal of bustle and cheering they did.  The most pleased of the lot was the other lion, who kept running about everywhere pretending to be very busy but really in order to say to everyone he met, "Did you hear what he said? US lions.  That meant him and me. US lions.  That's what I like about Aslan. No side, no stand-off-ishness. Us lions. That meant him and me."

   To be sure there has been nothing in my life that has given me the peace and satisfaction that I derive from attempting to be my Lord's under shepherd on Sunday Mornings (on all mornings) during the conduct of the Mass (the Divine Service).  But, I readily admit that I am also like that "other lion" whenever I have the opportunity and joy to congregate with my brother pastors.  As I have recently returned from the SSP's annual Kansas Chapter Retreat (Immanuel Lutheran Church, Wichita, KS)  I am filled with both humility (well, a little humility) and sanctified pride, that I am in the same "Office" with my hero brethren.  Yes, I stand in the footsteps of Petros, Paulus, Timotheus, and Thomas...but they can't drink a beer with me or share a cigar, or ... look me in the eye quite the same way as my 'brothers-in-arms.'  I start to get excited and jump around just like that "other" lion in Narnia that I get to be with men that I admire  and aspire to imitate.   No, I will never preach as well as Frs. Brockman, Lovett, and Peck; teach as well as Frs. Boyle and Stark; or influence the hearts and minds of my peers as well as Fr. McDermott, but darn it.... I baptize as well as they do; I pronounce the absolution with the same authority and reality, and I give out the identical True Body and True Blood of Our God/Man Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.   
   It doesn't get much better than that.   Let them be the Aslans...I GET TO BE the other lion...and together we are:


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Here is the homily preached at Vespers, Tuesday March 26, for the Fourth Annual Retreat of the Kansas Chapter of the SSP.  - - JW

Exodus 12. 1-14; Saint Matthew 26. 17-30
26 March Anno + Domini 2019
Tuesday Vespers: Chapter Retreat
Fr Jay Watson, SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   Or, in The Name of The Blood of Jesus.
As The King is His Kingdom and The Kingdom is The King, so too The Blood is Christ and Christ is The Blood.
   Pastors at District conferences, Conventions, winkels, and SSP retreats may initially feel the human urge to preach in a more dynamic, meaningful, and insightful way than normal. Eagerness is good (I suppose) but creativity is vain. When receiving The Words of Holy Scripture and the gifts of Messias, the 12th Sunday after Trinity or the Tuesday of Oculi are as blessed and graced as The Nativity or Whitsunday.
   God gave light, life, joy, peace, and paradise. Re-read Genesis 1 and John 1.
   God gave blood (and the entire circulatory system).  Man took blood.  The blood from the two dead animals God skinned to cover your reprobate relatives. The blood hemorrhaging of out the dead shepherd Abel…coating the murder weapon and hands of the killer…blood soaking into the earth—the earth which Adam had been made from in His creator’s image.  Now that image would be stained by the war paint, the rebellious stamp of murderous blood. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  No.  You’re resentful backsliding thugs with murder in your heart, far to often.  Jesus is the protecting and always caring brother.
   Your Kittel, Nestle-Aland, and Septuagint exegesis notwithstanding; your Patristic gems and Reformation-era preaching passion notwithstanding, every text, miracle, parable, or doctrinal teaching of God in the Evangels, is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Blood. Blood everywhere. There is a fountain filled + with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.
   There is no forgiveness without blood sacrifice. For the blood is the life.  Your people, and you, need believe that even the good and salutary Lenten disciplines, the daily prayers, meditations, and good works are only Holy Ghosted in you by The Blood. The Blood of The Lamb.
   The Paschal Lamb of the Exodus left a lot of dead sheep and produced a lot of bloody houses. It saved God’s children. The destroyer passed over them—forgave them their trespasses.  Real lamb, not trope. Real blood not memorial.
   You’ve preached many times on The Lord’s Institution of The Sacrament. You’ve echoed Christ’s verba thousands of times into your own flock’s ears and then poured His, actual, true, real, and bodily BLOOD into their mouths and down their throats.  The same blood that was in the babe born in Bethlehem. The same blood shed at His 8th day. The blood from His holy wounds staining the tree.  There the real hyssop of God’s finger tracing and staining the “house of rebellion” with the bloody branding of sacred justice +
   That Blood—The Blood of God—The Blood and sweat, and spittle, and breath, and ALL that is The God/Man, was struck not just on the side posts and upper door posts of Calvary’s Ensign, but also on your own infant self in the bloody, yet crystal clear, waters + of regeneration—marking your “house” your “temple of The Spirit!”
   Ichthuoi, loosed from the nets of sin, swimming freely in the waters of Baptism flowing from His speared punctured chest. Yes.  Oxygenated Christ-corpuscles washed clean by the Blood gushing from His pierced side and now, IN HIM, swimming in His Sacred Heart. Yes.
   Judgement has been executed. The Lamb has been slain.  The Blood is your forgiveness and life. The Blood is your food.  The Bleeder is your God and Lord. 

In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost

March 2019 Kansas Chapter Retreat

Two photos from the 4th Annual Society of Saint Polycarp, Kansas Chapter, Retreat.
Every year on the evening of OCULI, all Polycarpians (and others interested) are invited
to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Wichita, KS for a three-day/three night retreat of Praying
the Offices, Study, Silence, Fellowship, and Gemutlichkeit.