Friday, 30 March 2012

Keble and keeping it in the day.

Yesterday the Anglican Communion (except for the C of E who keep his feast on the anniversary of his famous Assize Sermon on National Apostasy in July) remembered John Keble. Pardon the non-inclusive language, but these quotes from the great man struck me as useful in a time when there is much political & religious turbulence (like the Anglican Covenant (or Dead Parrot) & the re-election of George Galloway (aka the Mouth of the Tay) to the High Court of Parliament at this time assembled!).

"After all, the surest way to uphold or restore our endangered Church, will be for each of her anxious children, in his own place and station, to resign himself more thoroughly to his God and Saviour in those duties, public and private, which are not immediately affected by the emergencies of the moment: the daily and hourly duties, I mean, of piety, purity, charity, justice. It will be a consolation understood by every thoughtful Churchman, that let his occupation be, apparently, never so remote from such great interests, it is in his power, by doing all as a Christian, to credit and advance the cause he has most at heart; and what is more, to draw down God's blessing upon it."

"As to those who, either by station or temper, feel themselves most deeply interested, they cannot be too careful in reminding themselves, that one chief danger, in times of change and excitement, arises from their tendency to engross the whole mind. Public concerns, ecclesiastical or civil, will prove indeed ruinous to those, who permit them to occupy all their care and thoughts, neglecting or undervaluing ordinary duties, more especially those of a devotional kind."

The first passage suggests to me a flavour of Step 3 in the 12 Steps: " to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him".  And also of that AA slogan "Keep it in the Day".  We are great at distracting ourselves from the actual practise on a daily basis of the faith we profess in our personal and life and locale by getting worked up about big causes and campaigns.  I'm all for those - but unless it is matched by piety and purity, then those of us who would call ourselves 'liberal minded' Christians can find ourselves dismissed as lacking in faith if all we seem to do is talk about charity and justice.  Equally, we need to be careful to show charity to those we disagree with in thought, word and blog!  Even George Galloway!

The second passage is equally pertinent.  We can become obsessive with our pet religious or political hobby horses - LGBT rights, abortion etc, etc, etcBut that can mess up our personal lives and our prayer life if it is not held in a healthy balance with prayer and ordinary life.  The genius of classical Anglicanism was/is it's distrust of unbalanced living and dangerous obsessive enthusiasm.  Maybe it recognises than more people have addictive personalities than admit it!

Father of the eternal Word,
in whose encompassing love
all things in peace and order move:
grant that, as your servant John Keble

adored you in all creation,
so we may have a humble heart of love
for the mysteries of your Church
and know your love to be new every morning,
in Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen

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