Theology Blog: The Low as Well as the High
The Revd Canon John Seymour – August 2013
One big privilege of regularly sharing in the worship at the Cathedral is the consistently high quality of the preaching. Cathedral clergy may perhaps have an advantage over their parochial colleagues; parish life can involve the preparation of multiple addresses and sermons each week. Quality inevitably suffers from sheer quantity.
Not so at the Cathedral, and not so when Pete Hobson recently preached on the Galatians text: ‘All one in Christ Jesus’. He invited us as a congregation to make sure all were welcome and valued, without reference to race, sex or gender. He also alluded to the existence of the old ‘high’ and ‘low’ manifestations of the C of E.
This led me on to reflect on whether or not we are as good in this department as hopefully we are where race, sex and gender are concerned. Perhaps I am aware of this as I was trained theologically in a 1950s conservative evangelical environment. After seeking primarily to be a follower of Jesus, I’m next also an incurable Anglian. But there is still that evangelical background which I think it is important to not despise. Cutting off roots may not be the best encouragement for healthy growth, (though pruning them may sometimes be a good idea.)
The sermons at the Cathedral are so often evangelical in the best sense of that word: proclaiming the good news of Jesus and working out its implications for today. The Cathedral is also rich in music and fellowship and active in its concern for poverty and injustice, and, as I have personally discovered, pastorally very supportive. All of these are vitally important.
So the fact is accepted that there is a kind of package deal. A package which may include a good deal of ‘high church’ ritual and sometimes theology, to which for some it may be necessary to turn a blind eye or deaf ear.
‘All one in Christ Jesus’: Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free. It’s not nearly as important as the other things, but we mustn’t forget the low as well as the high!
© Canon John Seymour