Cover of Theology of Wonder

The Canonical Site.

For my Lenten reading, I picked up my copy of "The Theology of Wonder" by Bp Seraphim.

Silence

In a chapter entitled "Silence", +Seraphim writes that the silence in the worship service (or Liturgy) is as much a part of worship as any words that we speak, songs sung, or sermon's preached.

The whole book is quite thought-provoking, and this part, combined with my activities over the extended weekend, gave me pause to think. I spent much of yesterday working around the house, playing with the kids, painting -- and very little on the computer. For me, this "silence" in relation to computers was extremely relaxing and helped me gain a little balance that I often lack.

So, perhaps this is what is meant when +Seraphim talks about silence and what we gain when we exercise our "Right to Play". Silence is something that a lot of us avoid. Play has that same unfortunate quality: we think it is unproductive so we don't do as much of it -- we avoid it like I avoid mowing the yard or painting.

But when we break our mould and sit in silence or play, we gain a new perspective: one that is often less conventional for us.

Fire

+Seraphim's chapter on the Holy Spirit, "Fire", is very interesting. I read it at a very serendipitous time, too -- just as Violet was about to be baptised. I meant to share some of it with those of you who were down here this weekend because I thought it might help you appreciate the baptism a bit better: it is certainly valid, but not yet final.

Anyway, before you read that bit, read this bit which I've rearranged from the end to the beginning:

The coming of the Holy Spirit is an experience of being inwardly free -- free from all the compulsive plans and fears and thoughts which are centered on ourselves, or rather on our imaginary selves [...]
Inner freedom is the absolute condition of the knowledge of God, said Maximus.

Christianity promises two things that seem very elusive in our day-to-day lives: Power and Freedom.

By now, I've spent 20 minutes trying to write about this and erasing everything I put down as it sounds either contraversial or sappy. So I guess I'll just leave you with the above thoughts and this question:

How much freedom do you have?

[...] the problem is that now that sacramental action is almost always separated from any personal experience... so much so, that any apparent personal realization of the Gifts of the Spirit [...] would in many places be regarded as disorderly and appalling.

[In the past,] the gifts continued to accompany the administration of the sacrament [...] But as time went by it became less personal and more merely a ritual to be read from a book. But the Spirit is always and only personal...and flows only through and between persons. So, valid and right though the administration of the sacraments is, it awaits to be awakened into conscious and personal experience.

If the experience of the Holy Spirit is really personal, then it must be unique in each person.

That is important because the Pentecostal gifts can be expected in a way which is also ritualized and impersonalized as much in a Pentecostal church [...] as in a Confessional Church [...]