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:


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