Monday, June 18, 2018

The Third Sunday after Trinity, 17 June 2018

My Friends,

THE GOSPEL.  S. Luke 15. 1 
“Be clothed with humility”
 
The humility of God’s charity calls us to humility over and against our pride.  Pride is that grand delusion whereby we think we are sufficient unto ourselves, whereby we think we stand in need of nothing but presume to be the center of everything.  The self-giving love of God stands altogether opposed to the self-centeredness of our pride.  It is our pride which stands utterly opposed to God and to God’s ways with us.  “For God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.”
 
In the Gospel for today, “all the publicans and sinners drew near to hear Jesus.” But “the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying ‘This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them’.”  In other words, the Pharisees and Scribes - the self-righteous in the pride of their religion - complain about the company which Jesus keeps - the company of publicans and sinners.  It is in relation to this division between publicans and sinners, on the one hand, and Pharisees and Scribes, on the other hand, that Jesus tells this parable.
 
Publicans are not the keeper of pubs, but the collectors of taxes - taxes which belong to the  res publicae, the public things in the order and rule of the state.  Now tax collectors can hardly ever be regarded in a favourable light, but much less so in the context of the Gospel.  For then, they were seen as traitors to Israel because they were co-operating with their foreign Roman overlords.  And beyond that, they were also seen as extortionists.  The business of tax collection was hired out by the Roman Government to local agents - Rome may have been the first government to outsource taxing!  They were given a quota which they had to meet; anything above that was for themselves.  Thus the publicans were out to get whatever they could from an unwilling population.  No-one could be more despised than a publican. 
 
Hardly respectable company for a teacher of religion, or a least so the Pharisees and the Scribes thought.  Their complaint was that they were the worthy ones, the respectable company with whom Jesus should be, not this rabble of unworthy “publicans and sinners”.  Their complaint reveals a feature of pride.  It cuts us off from others and from God.  As Hagar Shipley Currie, in Margaret Laurence’s classic novel The Stone Angel, puts it, “Pride was my wilderness”, a wilderness in which we are lost to ourselves, to others and to God.  There is nothing more empty and more isolating than pride - the pride that is so completely focused on oneself whether in boasting “how great I am” or in whining “how poor, sad, mad and miserable I am.”
 
Jesus’ response is to tell two stories - three actually - the story of the lost sheep, the story of the lost coin, and the story which follows those two, the story of the lost or prodigal son.  The lesson is plain.  Salvation is for those who need salvation, for those who are lost.  “There shall be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.”  To know oneself as a sinner is to stand in need of salvation, to be looking for it and to be where it is proclaimed.  To know oneself as such is itself an act of humility, an act of the grace of God in one.
 
Jesus tells this to the Pharisees and Scribes who, like the “publicans and sinners”, also need repentance and salvation.  But unlike the “publicans and sinners” they don’t think that they need anything whatsoever.  They stand and murmur against Jesus in the pride of their self-righteousness, claiming a worthiness on the basis of their observation of the law.  Keeping the law, however, is not their sin.  Their sin is in despising the “publicans and sinners”, in presuming their own self-sufficiency and in murmuring against the ways of God with men in Jesus Christ.
 
The gospel shows us that Jesus is the infinite charity of God towards us, reaching down to seek out the lost, from the greatest to the least, and to draw us back out of the wilderness to which our sins have exiled us, to bring us into the company which we have forsaken.  He is the humility of God’s charity.  But in this reaching down of God to us, there is also his reaching down in us.  Humility is God’s grace opening us out to the pattern of his love in us.  It is the inner clothing of the soul.
 
And it changes everything.  “Be subject to one another”, Peter tells us.  How different that is from the Pharisees and Scribes.  They would stand over everything else - lord it over us all.  But if it is not so with God, then how can it be so with one another?  “Be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.”
 
But being subject to one another does not mean mindless submission.  Humility must also mean a confident openness to the truth which one has been given to see and a confident willingness to act upon what one knows.  Humility is not grovelling subservience.
 
The point theologically is the total primacy of God’s grace in the work of salvation.  It is not our worthiness but the infinite generosity of God that is at work for us and in us.  And this is something which we have to want if ever we will discover how it is all God’s work in us.  Pride can have no place with God for it stands opposed to God and murmurs against God for the company he keeps.  But the company he keeps is you and me - sinners all, whether publicans or not.  And if we think that we are not sinners, then we exclude ourselves from his company and presume to be better than one another.  Such is not of God.
 
The lesson Jesus teaches illustrates the gentle humility of God’s way with us even in the face of the hardness of our proud hearts.  He shows us the infinite extent of the humility of his love for us in his seeking out the lost.  And he shows us that the way of his love must be his way in us.
 
He has reached down to us in the lost wanderings of our ways, but he has reached down to us that he might redeem us, that his humility might be both his example and the workings of his grace in us, that he might be in our company - sinners all - and we in his company - gracious in the sight of God by virtue of God’s reaching down to us.  Such is God’s humility towards us.  Such is the humility with which we should want to be clothed. 
 
“Be clothed with humility”

Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston
Tasmania
Australia





Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Second Sunday after Trinity

My Friends,


Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3.18)
 
The great power and the great question of our time are the same. Our great power, ability and skill which makes us superior to every other age of men who have dwelt on the face of the earth, a capacity which has built a civilization the most mighty in human history, is technology, the power of turning thought into practice, the power to apply knowledge to the transformation of reality. The great question and crushing problem, the unsolved dilemma, is equally a matter of bringing together thought and practice, knowledge and love. Our unsolved problem is to know the truth which will tell us what to do with our power to mold and transform our world.  We have knowledge which tells us how to do what we will, but to what ends are we to direct our power? What goals are true and good both?  What is the truth which will make us free?  That is the defeating question of our time.
 
Individuals as well as our social agencies are caught in the same problem.  What ideals are true and good, and provide a sure basis for directing my life? we ask.  The so called 'information explosion' has the effect that there are an almost endless number of so called styles of life conceivable: Which ideals are true? and once I know the truth, how do I make that ideal the reality of my life?  This is the expressed or unexpressed question constantly before every pastor. 
 
This great problem of knowing the truth which is our good and goal, and making that truth the practical reality of our lives, this is the great preoccupation of this season of the Church Year, and it is the great gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is sent to lead us into all truth, this truth is the source from which we have come out, and the goal to which we shall return.  For the truth the Spirit manifests is the Son and Word of God by which all things were made and the resurrection of the dead.  The Spirit makes us abide in the Father through the Son.
 
On Trinity Sunday we celebrated the knowledge of the good God, our beginning and end, to whom the Spirit raises us.
After this I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and a voice. . . which said, Come up hither and I will show you things which must be hereafter.  And immediately I was in the Spirit and behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne.  (Revelation 4.1-2) 
The Spirit comes so that we may be born again, and raised to see the heavenly things which are our salvation; these heavenly things are "in this world, knowledge of thy truth, and, in the world to come, life everlasting. (BCP, p. 15)
 
The other side of the work of the Spirit in us is what we call the fruit of good works, putting the truth into practice, charity, love of God, his worthy worship which is always the work of the Spirit. The Spirit makes us cry 'Abba, Father' and our prayer, our reaching out to God, is the Spirit's movement in us.  But worship is not the only work to which the Spirit sets us, though it is the chief. There is the love of neighbour, and in this season we read the Epistles of James, Peter and John because they concern the unity of knowledge and virtuous love, of the invisible world and the visible.  "Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only" commands James.  "Faith without works is dead" he judges. (James 2.17)  How can a man say I love God and hate his neighbour? asks John.  "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3.17)  We have known in Jesus and believed, because we have seen and handled it in him, that God is love; and so we are certain that who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.  This Jesus loved us, gave his very flesh and blood for us, so we know by the Spirit who testifies of Jesus that "If a man say I love God and hateth his brother he is a liar." (1 John 4.20)
 
St. Peter exhorts: "And to godliness add brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make that ye shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1.7-8)
 
These epistles teach us something about practice, about love and about truth which is a most important guide.  The standards of truth and practice are the same ones they have always been.  The good God we know, and who commands, changes not.  As Jude has it: we are to hold fast to the truth "once delivered to the saints." (Jude 3)  Or John, "Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning." (1 John 2.7)  Always the same standard: "Who so hateth his brother is a murderer and we know that no murderer hath eternal life in him" because God commanded Moses "Thou shalt do no murder." (1 John 3.15)  "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this," teaches James; namely, charity and purity: "To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and keep yourself unspotted from the world." (James 1.27)  Or again: "Whoso seeth that his brother hath need and shutteth up his heart to him, How dwells the love of God in him?" asks John. (1 John 3.17)
 
The same eternal God is made known in "Jesus Christ the same yesterday today and forever" (Hebrews 13.8) and teaches us the same law ever new "Who loves God must love his brother also." (1 John 3.21)  The resurrected Jesus gives us power to fulfill the commandments but he takes nothing of them away.  "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, they will not be pursuaded though one rose from the dead." (Luke 16.31)  This wisdom, so ancient and so new, always makes us hated of the world, the world of change and decay, because the eternal law and unchangeable knowledge cannot belong to it.  "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you."
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15.18-19) 
Knowledge and love of God and, of our brothers and sisters in God, calls us from the world with the greatest urgency.

 A certain man made a great supper, and bade many; and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, come for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse.
You now hear the truth, and see the things which angels long to gaze upon, which the just saints of old desired to look upon and did not see. Hear and obey. Lest the final word you hear be:

 For I say unto you that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Luke 14.24)
Let us pray to hear rather "Come and dine"  "Come inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world." (Matthew 25.34)

Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne,
Launceston
Tasmania
Australia


Monday, June 4, 2018

The First Sunday after Trinity. 3 June 2018

My Friends,


THE GOSPEL. S. Luke 16. 19

“And besides all this, between us and you
there is a great gulf fixed”
 
It is quite a story, a parable actually, the parable of Dives and Lazarus, the rich man and the poor man, in which we are given, really, a picture of heaven and hell.  “Behold, a door  was opened in heaven”, we heard last week and we learned that “[we] must be born again”, born from above, thinking upwards, as it were, thinking into the mystery of divine love opened to view in the vision of God as the Holy and Blessed Trinity.  And here and now, heaven and hell are before us in this parable.  What is it all about?
 
It is simply about the reality of heaven and hell in our everyday lives, simply about the heaven of our care and love for one another, simply about the hell of our neglect and indifference to one another; simply about the worship or the non-worship of God.  Hell is here and now in our neglect of God and one another.  They go together.
 
You don’t want to hear this, I’m sure, but it is the direct and simple meaning of this parable.  Heaven and Hell are states of life that have altogether to do with the worship of God and the love and care for one another that arises out of that love.  The strongest kind of connection is made between honouring God and honouring one another.  This challenges the mushy sentimentality of our maritime souls, the postures of self-righteousness and emotional attachment to one another but without placing one another in the presence of God, without any kind of real commitment to worship.  The neglect of God and the neglect of one another go together.  And yet, “a door was opened in heaven” and we are given to see the highest potentialities of our humanity in all of the truth of our diversities united and realized in the worship of God.  We are called to act out of that vision. 
 
And we can’t, of course, if we aren’t present where the vision is made known and celebrated from which we are being challenged to live what we have been given to see.  You can’t love what you don’t know.  Without knowing the love of God, you can’t love out of his love.  We like to think that we can, but our loves are really all in a mess.  We need to see the vision which sets our loves in order.  Without it, I am sorry to say, our lives are really hell.  We may be rich in the things of this world, but if we are not rich in the things of God, then are we most poor and miserable, empty and desolate.  Hell, after all, is the absence of God in our lives. 
 
There is a turn towards the practical with respect to our lives in faith that begins on this day.  Having run through the creed from Advent through to Trinity Sunday, the creed now runs through us, as it were.  We are to be what we believe.  And how can we do that without being altogether serious about the praying and teaching life of the Church? Our indifference towards God signals too, an indifference towards one another, towards the Lazarus in our midst, the poor man at our feet.  “Heaven and Hell”, as one of the desert fathers puts it, “are with our brother and our sister” and that is the lesson, really, of the parable of Dives and Lazarus.  And we can’t be with them unless we are with God.
 
The strong Christian message, the one you don’t want to hear, is that there can be no true love and service of Lazarus without our love and service of God, a love and service which are rooted in the liturgy and the worship of the Church.  We can, of course, empty that worship of its meaning by refusing to act in accord with what we have been given to see.  But to think that we can simply “go and do good” without that is equally folly.  After all, it is not always easy to know exactly just what we are to do about poverty and suffering, and the many, many hardships that belong to the human experience.
 
But, too often, and especially in our contemporary culture, we think there are practical solutions – just throw money, devise this or that social programme - for each and every problem.  There may or there may not be some good that comes out of such things but they are always limited and always tainted by the various agendas both our own and those of others.  If we are honest about ourselves, we will acknowledge this truth.  We often give to charities, I’m sure, just so that they won’t bother us any more.  And in so doing, perhaps, we ease our own consciences; we excuse ourselves from the feelings of guilt; we justify ourselves.  And that is the problem.  Our acts of charity end up really being about ourselves.  And what we have actually done is to step over Lazarus once again.  There is this strange and terrifying paradox; our acts of charity become our way of ignoring the intractable reality of human suffering.
 
We need, I think, to be able to accept the limits of human charity without despairing of the divine love which seeks the perfection of all our souls.  We need to be encouraged to greater acts of generosity and charity knowing full well the limits and short-comings and failures in human terms of our charity but without falling into cynicism or complacency, without despairing of the need to act, on the one hand, and without presuming that we have the answers, on the other hand.  Our despair and our presumption are actually the hell that belongs to our neglect of the things of heaven.  It comes from not fully facing and accepting the reality of human suffering in which we are all implicated. 
 
In our idolatry of the practical, we think that the most important thing is what we do.  “What must we do?” Tolstoy asked with great anguish with respect to the world of human suffering.  And, of course, we must do something, always.  But while it is important to act, the most important thing is to be present in the midst of the sufferings of the world, to be present purposefully and prayerfully, to be present in the struggles of discernment about the good, about what must and can be done.  It means to know ourselves as among the poor of the world, too.  “There go I but for the grace of God” and that because of the grace of God I must act towards those in need.  It means to seek the face of Christ in those whom we serve.  God, after all, is not absent from the sufferings of humanity. 
 
The story of Christ is about the divine presence in the midst of all of the horrors of suffering and death.  He is no stranger to “the valley of the shadow of death.” But we so often are, especially when we ignore Lazarus at our feet. 
 
The meaning of this parable, it seems to me, is illustrated by Christ’s action at the Last Supper when he kneels and washes the disciples’ feet.  It is an act of love, the deep love of God who enters into the world in order to open out to us the realities of heaven.  Such realities are not found in our neglect of one another but in our seeking the good of each other, a good that can only be discerned in the mystery of God.  Our liturgy and our worship, so often so sadly neglected, so often so indifferently observed, make present the reality of the mystery of God which embraces and dignifies our human lives.  Without our prayerful attention to the mystery of God opened to view in the witness of the scriptures proclaimed and the sacraments celebrated, our lives are not heavenly.  In neglecting God, we neglect one another, the Lazarus who is our brother at our gate. 
 
“There is a great gulf fixed”, says Abraham in this gospel parable which Jesus tells, between heaven and hell.  It is a powerful and no doubt disturbing image and yet how true.  The epistle helps us to understand its teaching.  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” God, we cannot see, our brother in need we can see, but only in responding to what we have been given to see about the love of God in the sacrifice of Christ can we begin to love one another.  Then, and only then, “God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.”  And we can only act out of the love of God, “because he first loved us”.  And when we don’t, like Dives in the parable, we create “the great gulf fixed”  between where we are and where God is, between Heaven and Hell.  Hell really is of our own making; Heaven is what God is.  When we act out of the heaven which we have been given to see, then the love of God is at work in us.  It is heaven now for “God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
 
This is the recurring refrain of the Trinity season.    We ignore it at our peril.
 
“And besides all this, between us and you
there is a great gulf fixed.”

Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province,
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston
Tasmania
Australia


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Corpus Christi


Dear Fathers,Friends in Christ,

We’ve come to church on this Corpus Christi Thursday to do what we do
each and every Sunday, and some of us each and every day: to take part
in the central act of worship of the Christian Church, as small discs of
bread and a chalice of wine is blessed and shared, because two thousand
years ago a Jewish man told his followers to ‘do this’ in remembrance of
him on the night before he died.
 
But, unlike on Maundy Thursday, when the Church calls us to remember
in particular Christ washing his disciples’ feet, his perfect example of selfabasing,
loving service, today we are called to rejoice in the other gift of
that night, the gift of the Eucharist, the Mass, in which ordinary bread
and ordinary wine become the Body and Blood of Christ himself.
Maundy Thursday is filled with the poignancy of the Garden of
Gethsemane and the impending events of Good Friday; today is a day of
rejoicing that, in this and every Mass, we experience the miracle of
Christ’s promise made true to be with his Church until the end of time.
For many years of Christian history people received Holy Communion
infrequently, usually at Easter and sometimes only on their deathbeds.
Nowadays, we usually receive Communion every time we come to
Mass, and that, of course, can be nothing other than a good thing. But,
to quote the old adage, familiarity breeds contempt: and, though we
might not be contemptuous about the Mass, what we are doing and who
we receive, the familiarity of the rituals and words can breed
complacency, as we become inured to the wonder and power of the
mysteries we celebrate.
 
So what’s going on when we ‘do this’ in remembrance of Jesus? The key
word here is ‘remembrance’: of course, this word brings to mind
commemorations at the Cenotaph, poppies and bugles; it also conveys a
sense of ‘not forgetting’. But this is not what we do when we ‘do this’ in
remembrance of Jesus in this and every Mass. Yes, we are not to forget
Jesus, his life, death and resurrection; his example and all he taught us
about our humanity and God; but we are also here to remember in
another sense – to re-member Jesus, to bring him out of the past into
the present as we ‘do this’ with bread and wine.
 
But we are here to remember in another sense as well, or, to make the
same request of Jesus as did the penitent thief who hung beside him on
his cross. We are here to say, ‘Lord, remember me…’ And, as we say
that, we’re not saying, ‘Jesus, don’t forget me,’ but, ‘Lord, re-member
me, recreate me, take my brokenness and put me back together again,
as you made me to be, in your likeness.’
 
And that is why we are here: we gather as Christ’s body in the world,
broken, fractured, dislocated; we gather to remember Jesus, and
ourselves to be re-membered as his past becomes our present, as we
are fed with his divine life, as we are healed, forgiven, put back together
and sent out to share that love, life, forgiveness and grace with God’s
people in the world.
 
This is both the mystery and the miracle of the Mass: that the same Jesus
who walked this earth, died on the cross and rose again, is as present in
bread and wine as he was two thousand years ago. But it is also that,
through the mystery and miracle of the cross, Jesus continues to pour
out his life, love, forgiveness and grace so that, being broken for us, we
might be made whole, and as we remember him, be re-membered by
him, re-created, healed and saved.
 
But that’s not the end of it: the Mass is both the source and summit of
our worship as Christians; it is to the altar that we come day by day and
week by week so that we might live better lives as Christians, and be
nourished for our Christian pilgrimage through life. But the Mass is also
the beginning of our mission: of our being sent out into the world to be
Christ’s body, Christ’s presence here, now, today, as we witness to
God’s transforming love at work in our lives, and seek him in the faces
of our fellow men and women.
 
As we are sent out from the Mass, filled with the very life and presence
of Jesus himself, he says to us: ‘What you have received is me, so that
you may become like me, and live as I intend life to be. And now I want
you to re-member me; to be my body in the world, as you offer your
lives in the service of others, being broken in the costly service of love.
And when you’ve done that, come back again and feed on the living
bread: be nourished for another week of service; forgiven for the times
you’ve got it wrong, and put back together to live life in my name.’
As we gather once again at the altar, as countless Christians are doing
around the world today, and have done over the past two thousand
years; as we gather to fulfill Christ’s command to ‘do this’ in
remembrance of him; we do this so that we may fulfill our vocation to
be Christ’s body in the world, his living presence calling people into the
fellowship of his life and love; but we do so as well, so that, as his
broken people, we may be healed, forgiven, and sustained by the very
presence of Christ himself.
 
This is why we are here; this is why we come back time and time again;
this is why the Mass is so special, so important, so central not only to
the life of the Church, but to the life of the world as well. And we will
keep doing this throughout our Christian pilgrimage on earth, because,
however long it takes, in ordinary bread and ordinary wine, we express
our deepest longing to be re-fashioned in the likeness of Jesus, and remembered
when he comes into his kingdom.
Amen.

Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania
Australia

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Trinity Sunday 27 May 2018

My Friends,
“Behold, a door was opened in heaven”
 
It was behind closed doors, literally and figuratively, that Jesus made known to us his resurrection. But it is not only behind closed doors that the things of God are made known to us.  Through the incarnation and manifestation of Jesus Christ, through his passion and death, through his resurrection and ascension, through the sending of the Holy Spirit, “a door was opened in heaven” and we behold the glory of God in the fullness of his revelation.  God makes himself known to us.
 
Trinity Sunday sets before us the vision of God which is the end of man.  “The end of man is endless Godhead endlessly possessed” (Austin Farrer).  Trinity Sunday, we might say, is the great Te Deum Laudamus of the Church.  We proclaim God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. W e proclaim what we have been given to behold through the fullness of the scriptural witness to God’s revelation.  It is what we have been given to proclaim.  It is also that in which we are privileged to participate.
 
We meet together in the glory of the revealed God, the glory of the Trinity.  All our beginnings and all our endings have their place of meeting in the Trinity.  It is, we may say, the one thing essential. No Trinity, no Christianity.  “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Ghost” (1 Cor.12.3).  To say ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to make a Trinitarian statement.  It is the burden of the Church’s proclamation.
 
Trinity Sunday signals an ending and marks a beginning.  There is an ending of all that we have gone through from Advent to this day, an ending that is a kind of gathering, a threefold gathering:
 
1. a gathering of all the history of salvation into this fullness of revelation;
2. a gathering of all religion into this fullness of meaning.
3. a gathering of all the substantial moments in the life of Christ into this fullness of understanding.
 
There is a beginning as well.  There is our entry by grace, year by year, into the fullness of revelation, the fullness of meaning and the fullness of understanding which has been opened to view.  “Behold a door was opened in heaven”(Rev.4.1).  We are given to behold and enter into what we behold.  What we behold are the highest things of the Spirit; in short, the spiritual reality of the living God.  This is what we participate in.
 
To behold the highest things of heaven is to make a new beginning: “ye must be born again”, born anew, born from above.  There must be in us a renewal of our understanding of what it means to be born again.  We enter by grace into what Jesus wants us to know so that the divine life opened to view might take shape in us for our good and to his glory.
 
It means a new perspective, a deeper understanding and a beholding of things from above. There is a constant need for the resurrection of our understanding in the things which Jesus wants us to know.  There are essentially two things which Jesus wants us to know.  They are the things into which everything he says and does are gathered and find their place.
 
He has come to us with a twofold purpose: to reveal and to redeem; to reveal God to us and to redeem us to God.  What he wants us essentially to know is his divine identity and his identity with us.  There is in fact an exegesis of God - a making known of God.  Jesus himself is the exegesis, the interpretive exposition. “He who has seen me has seen the Father”.
 
The point is made most directly in the Prologue to St. John’s Gospel.  “No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (John 1.18).  It is the only place in the Scriptures where exegesis - a making known - is used, not about a text or about an event, but about God himself.  Jesus is the exegete of God.  He makes God known to us even as he is the mediator between God and Man who brings us into fellowship with God.  That fellowship is the fellowship of the Trinity - the fellowship of God with God in God.  “Behold, a door was opened in heaven”.  We behold what we enjoy - the fellowship of the Trinity.
 
Just as in Holy Baptism we are born anew into the fellowship of God with God in God, so in the Holy Eucharist, we participate in what we proclaim.  We participate in the Son’s thanksgiving to the Father in the Holy Spirit.  We are made “partakers of the divine nature” and do not lose our humanity but find its truth, redeemed and sanctified.  We participate in what we behold. 
 
You see, not only has “a door been opened in heaven” but we have been invited into the fellowship of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  “No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known”.  And we have fellowship with him whom we behold.  Trinity signifies communion, the communion of God Himself and our communion with God, in God and through God.
 
Perhaps what it signifies is best captured in George Herbert’s little poem about what has been opened to view.
 
Thou hast but two rare cabinets full of treasure,
                  The Trinitie, and Incarnation:
                         Thou hast unlockt them both,
                  And made them jewels to betroth
                         The work of thy creation
Unto thy self in everlasting pleasure.  (Ungratefulness)
 
What we proclaim with clarity is what we are given to participate in with charity.  And such is the grace of God.
“Behold, a door was opened in heaven”.

Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston
Tasmania
Australia