Archives for April 2007

RIP Robert Webber

Dr. Robert Webber passed away from pancreatic cancer on Saturday. He will be missed. For those unfamiliar with Webber, he wrote many books encouraging evangelicals to explore liturgy, sacraments, and the Church Fathers. He became Episcopalian in the 1970s or 80s (I can’t recall the exact date) and later wrote a book about it called “Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail.” He was also famous for his “Ancient-Future” series, which looked at modern ideas using the ancient writers. When my brother and I started the Ancient and Future Catholics website, we were reading Webber, and he no doubt influenced our choice of name. I likely would not be Catholic today if it weren’t for Webber. I am sad to see him depart this world.

See this article on Titus One Nine for more information about Webber and his recent passing.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.

May he rest in peace

A Few More Photos for Holy Saturday

These are a few photos I took last year, at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. I took the photo in the previous entry at the same location. I think these are appropriate for Holy Saturday, as we meditate on the death of Jesus, and in a sense, our own eventual deaths.

Holy Saturday

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all”. Christ answered him: “And with your spirit”. He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light”.

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

From the Sermon of an anonymous Eastern Church Father. Traditionally read during the Liturgy of the Hours on Holy Saturday in the Western Church. Image taken by David Bennett.

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, when we commemorate the crucifixion and death of the Lord. Through fasting, penance, venerating the cross, reading from John’s gospel, and the sparseness of worship, we “bring present” to us the final hours of Jesus’ life. Penance and fasting are not too popular these days, even in some churches, but through these practices we being to understand the pain and suffering of our Lord, as we refine our souls.

Holy Week

In the West, yesterday (Palm Sunday) began Holy Week. Holy Week is the final week of Lent leading up to Easter, and recalls the final events of the life of Jesus, including his death on a cross. Holy Week is a busy time for most Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Lutherans, and others.

I wish everyone a blessed and meaningful Holy Week. May we truly experience in symbol the crucifixion and death of Christ as we prepare for the Easter season, when we celebrate his resurrection and victory over death.