Theology Summer School
Healing the Wounded World
Christ says, “Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work; I want you…No half measures are any good…Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. I will give you Myself; my own will shall become yours.”
-CS Lewis, The Joyful Christian
We’ve moved out of Christ Church College now and are in our apartment on Hollybush Row in Oxford.
I’ve done some sort of damage to my foot (It hurts) and I did a horrible job of packing (I didn’t bring the right clothes at all.)
But those things are incidental and unimportant.
I’ve just had an experience that changed me.
Can your life change in one week?
Your life can change in one instant.
It may not sound like a lot – one week of Continuing Ed classes – but we were in class for three hours in the morning plus three hours in the afternoon – plus evening lectures, plus dining as a group, and worship.
It felt like a lot.
We were clergy and lay people – Catholic, Anglican, Episcopalian, United Church of Christ, Unitarian, Methodist, Lutheran, street preachers, and (as someone described himself to me) garden variety fundamentalists.
That may sound like a narrow sampling to you, but I was made quickly aware of how rare it is that I discuss theology and religion with Christians of other denominations.
Religion is often discussed with venom or platitudes or not at all.
To spend a week immersed in the things of God, deep in conversation and disagreement and reflection and then to come together in communion and worship – it was transformative.
I came thinking I would dive into thought and learn about healing, become more biblically literate. I certainly did. But also, I experienced healing.
I was healed in a small Reformed church, seated in the round, singing light with my classmates and tutors.
I was healed in a way I don’t know how to articulate yet.
It was profound.
Last Sunday, I worshipped at St. Mary Magdalene. It was High Anglo-Catholic Mass – the service of my heart – prayers chanted in Latin, the Ave Maria, the Angelus chanted around the statue of Our Lady.
Today, I will attend the sung Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral – high church of a different sort.
But high church or low church – God is God and God is Love and God is present.
Bidden or unbidden, God is present. – Desiderius Erasmus
Whatever your religion or agnosticism or atheism, God is with you.
Whether you make communion with God in this life or the life after, God is with you.
No matter your politics, your sexuality, your personality, God is with you.
When you allow your heart to the ever-present love of God, everything changes.