Sunday, October 06, 2013

By grace alone

In church today, the scheduled epistoler (reader of the Pauline Epistle) didn't show, so I was asked to step in. With time for only one dry run, I got to intone
2 Timothy 1:14, a mixture of somewhat hectoring epistolary pleasantries and heavy ammunition for theologies of predestination:

8Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

I read it with more than a little fear and trembling - the slightly awestruck pleasure I described back in my lay stewardship homily four years ago. Afterwards a parishioner of long standing, whom I sometimes see with his wife at original instrument performances of baroque music, came up to me. It's always a pleasure when I read, he said, but today was particularly fine. I felt so, too. Did anyone else notice?

The image above also happened at church today. One of my fellow ushers happened to be leafing through the Books of Common Prayer before the service and found this one - defaced, or perhaps annotated. We had an amusing time trying to decipher the somewhat polyglot words and guessing whose work it was, even thrusting the open page in the face of friends coming in, "admit it - this was you!" with more than a few confessing to the deed... until we noticed the attempted swastika.

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