Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stanley Hauerwas' sermon for Reformation Sunday

Stanley had the, um, privilege of preaching on Reformation Sunday, and here's what he had to say. Go and read it all.

Here's one thing he mentions:

"Reformation Sunday does not name a happy event for the Church Catholic; on the contrary, it names failure. Of course, the church rightly names failure, or at least horror, as part of our church year. We do, after all, go through crucifixion as part of Holy Week. Certainly if the Reformation is to be narrated rightly, it is to be narrated as part of those dark days."

It's hot and heavy - rhetorically freighted (even exaggeratedly so) to prove a point which he doesn't think a more evenkeeled approach would demonstrate.

I think he's maybe on to something here, though, that as a church - and here I mean not just Protestant/Reformed but all of us - we have difficulty naming and marking our failures as a part of our story, of connecting these up to the larger story of the cross. Some of us are able to do it personally, which is great, but as a community/communion/ body we don't seem able to do so. (In terms of the Reformation, even if we would want to mark something good that came from it, it would seem that we need to remember the way in which it rent and continues to rend the body of Christ, and this is so for both the Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic church; for humans to be out of communion /alienated from each other always takes two, and reconciliation always takes two as well.) I wonder if this has anything to do with our decline in public mourning or lament.

Check it out, it's every bit the provocative Stanley, we know and love (or hate, depending), still kicking it. (Also check out the extensive comments.)

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