We are compelled to attempt what is unattainable, to climb where we cannot reach, to speak what we cannot utter. Instead of the bare adoration of faith we are compelled to entrust the deep things of religion to the perils of human expression.
Hilary of Poitiers
I recently decided to treat myself, thanks to a kind gift, to a copy of Celebrating the Seasons for my kindle. I have two hard copies already but they tend to be left in churches and I don’t always have one when I want one. If you have never come across this and it’s companion, Celebrating the Saints, then I believe you are missing out.
For most days there is one reading, some days – such as Pentecost – have two or more, I have posted some on here before, they often find there way into my sermons and some echo round and round my head for days after I have read them. They come from a variety of people and there is a handy biography at the back, this is what it says about Hilary of Poitiers: (315-367) Hilary was born at Poitiers. His family, though pagan, gave him an excellent education and he was proficient in Latin and Greek. After extensive personal study, he was baptized at the age of thirty. He was elected bishop of the city in 350 and immediately became caught up in the Arian controversy, himself asserting that mortals of this world were created to practice moral virtues, thus reflecting the One in whose image they are made, the eternal and creative first cause, God; and that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, is of one substance with the Father. His outstanding treatise On the Trinity led to his title of the ‘Athanasius of the West’. While I didn’t need to look up who Hilary of Poitiers was there are some writings of lesser known individuals such as Walter Hilton (1343-1396) who comes after him in the biographical notes and whom I wouldn’t even know the century of without its help. There is also a helpful theme index, but I digress.
I spend much of my time flicking to the right day as I don’t (or rather didn’t) have a copy just for my personal use hence when I turned the page on the kindle this morning for Monday after Pentecost I came across a page I had never noticed before, a title page for Ordinary Time after Pentecost with the quote at the top of this blog on it and I haven’t got past it not sure I will get past it tomorrow either.
We are compelled to entrust the deep things of religion to the perils of human expression. On Saturday I entrusted the mystery of God’s unconditional acceptance and love of everyone to the perils of my human expression, and what is worse it was expression out of exasperation, years of it. I am not going to delete that post but I do now know a little more of what has been going on up in Stornoway and I know my human expression is utterly and totally inadequate. I just have to entrust it to God.
I will continue to attempt the unattainable because I am compelled to, because I believe God wants all to know they are special and loved and accepted and that no peril of human expression can take that away, however vile or hurtful or malicious it might be.