Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday 2008



Bishop Peter James Lee of the Diocese of Virginia led the Quiet Day meditations today at the seminary. For at least the last dozen years, he has not done this, so it was something new. The second talk at 3pm was the best of the two in my view, with quite a bit of humor in his comparison of the ritual of Ash Wednesday and the US political ritual of Super Tuesday. The advantage of the church's ritual, he argued, was that we take human sin and fallenness seriously. Without such seriousness about our need for repentance, one lacks serious abiding power. He recalled the process by which the current Book of Common prayer came to take sin as seriously as it does in the Baptismal renunciations (see scan above from BCP p. 302). Early trial drafts in the 1970s had one simple renunciations of evil (with a lower-case "e"). Then the full impact of Vietnam began to sink in, and the three strong renunciations that we currently have evolved. It was a good talk.

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