Unknown year, June talk, Serial 00626

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There was a conflict in the community over who was the chief apostle, some were for Peter, some were for Paul, some were for us, and they were all divided. And obviously there was a problem there, you see, you had the twelve who had lived with Jesus and shared their life with him, and they, in the eyes of many, must have had a priority. And Paul, of course, never saw Jesus in that way, he had his vision on the road to Damascus, and he believed that he'd seen the Lord and had been given this authority from Jesus, but probably others could have contested that. And still, I think there were some in the church who felt that they were for Peter and the other apostles, others were for, there must have been some for St. Paul, and others had their own but confused. So he tried to defend his apostleship, am I not an apostle?


Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my workmanship in the Lord? And then he appeals to this community, you see, I am not, if to others I am not an apostle, but at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. He obviously had a great work of mind on it, they were very devoted to him, many of them, at least, and he felt that this was a sign of his apostleship. And then he goes on to this rather difficult subject about have we not the right to food and drink. Also it would be interesting, do not we have the right to be accompanied by a wife or a woman as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord? So quite clearly in the early church, the apostles were all considered to be married, Peter we know one, of course, and James, so Peter's the Lord, and St. Paul and Barnabas were, or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?


So, a curious business, you see, he says that they have a right to be supported by the church. Maybe there were some, you see, saying you are not really an apostle, you have no right to depend on this church community. And he claims that right, at the same time he does not make use of it. He always claims that he has a right to be supported by the community, as every apostle has, every preacher has. But on the other hand, he earns his living by his tent-making and he claims always, he doesn't take advantage of it, that he says, we have not made use of this right. We enjoy anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. And yet he claims very strongly that they have the right to it. And he makes that rather curious argument for the Old Testament, a good example of that kind of mystical interpretation of the Old Testament, which became normal just in the fathers, in the Middle Ages. This seems always rather artificial to us.


You have the ruling in the Old Testament, you shall not muzzle the ox to try to trease up the grain. You see, they are going round and round treading it out. They should be able to take a mouthful and get their reward. And he opprimes that. An apostle has the right to live from the church where he is coming, where he is working. And so he claims his right. Do you not know those who employed in the temple service get their food from the temple? Those who serve at the altar, they take the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the law commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel, not by some deed, some tradition, you see. Well, Jesus said, the labourer is worthy of his power. But he would be called a different man to that. So he claims his right on the same time as he deserves not to use it so that he should have perfect freedom. You see, Paul is a rather complicated character in many ways, extremely affectionate and very devoted. But obviously he could be very much upset when people didn't respond as he hoped.


And this situation in the community was very much conflict. And of course, in the second death, it becomes even worse. There is a real conflict going on there. But I think it's important to remember, you see, that the early church was just as much disturbed by conflicts as the present one. They're not grown to the same proportions, but all the elements were there which could cause further division with the churches today. Paul was speaking a lot about this right of the one who preaches the gospel to live by the gospel. And then he goes on to say that he himself doesn't take advantage of this. I've made no use of any of these rights. While my writings secure any such provision, rather die than have anyone deprived my ground for boasting. I seem to think that of a great importance that he preached the gospel without demanding any return. As you know, he earned his living as a tent maker.


And then he says, if I do preach the gospel, it gives me no ground for boasting if a necessity is laid upon me. He had this tremendous compulsion, you could say, really, to preach the gospel. Perhaps he has a somewhat negative side also. It was maybe too demanding in a way. But it gave him this tremendous power to know. And then he goes on to say how he feels he's entrusted with a commission. I do this, if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. If not my own will, I'm entrusted with a commission. From that time on, he had this vision of the great of a master. He had this overwhelming sense that he'd been chosen, called, and given this commission to preach. And it's a necessity laid upon him. He's bound to do this work. Then what is my reward? Just this. If I preach and I make the gospel free of charge, then it's my right.


Then he goes on to say, very remarkable, I'm free from all men. I've made a slave to all, that I might win them all. And it's a good example of that kind of detachment. Paul does seem to have learnt that, that detachment from himself and from his background, his Jewish background and everything. So that he can be totally open to others. To the Jews, I've been a Jew, to the Jews, so on. To the Gentiles, to those not under the law, I claim it's not under the law. So he tried to be open to everybody. And it's a good example, I think, of a missionary of the day. A missionary of the day had to be totally open to the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Muslims, had to learn how to be totally open. And to be able to present the gospel in a way that was meaningful. That's a great challenge. Often we don't do it. We present it in a way that's meaningful to us, but not meaningful to the other person. And then to be able to enter into the mind of the other, discover their inner merge, their inner life, that's much more difficult.


And so Paul does seem to have that capacity to a great extent. Even they say, to the weak, I became weak, that I might win the weak. From all things to all men, that by all means I might save some. So he has this very, very deep sensitivity and empathy, they call it, don't they? Being able to enter into the condition, the situation, the feelings of another, to share. So that was his great gift. Then he goes on to use this illustration of a race, which doesn't attract me very much. Of course, he's living in the Roman Greek world, where race is but a great thing, because the sport is here today. And he takes this as an example of Christian life, running in a race. I think that sort of competitive spirit is very, very harmful. It can work for some people, no doubt, but it's really the opposite of what you want. To ever think that you're trying to get the better of other people. No doubt he didn't mean it like that, but it seemed to me very misleading.


You do not know that in a race all the runners compete, only one receives the prize. So, Ram, that you may obtain it. Because they were competing with each other, whereas we're trying to work together with each other. Of course, at other occasions, he does say that very strongly. We're all members of one body, each is necessary for the other. So he's just putting one point of view. And many also use this thing, every athlete exercises self-control. I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as though I'm beating the air. I pummel my body and subdue it. That, again, has been an unfortunate tradition in Christianity, of subduing the body. It went all through the pond, the desert, and right through. There's also been a moderating influence, but so often the idea is put the body under, subdue it. As yoga, of course, never has that attitude. It's learning to work with the body, to open, to allow the body to find its own inner freedom. It's a totally different attitude.


And there's no doubt that the Church has suffered from this kind of attitude, both of competing, trying to get the better of others, and thinking yourself better than others, and also of trying to subdue the body and the senses. So we have to learn our lesson from that. And India has a very different attitude to life from Greece and Rome, and you can't follow their behaviour. It's very something to learn from them. Questioner asks a question in Greek. In his readings before Texas, for an allegorical or symbolic reading of the Old Testament, which became traditional in the Church, it has a great deal of meaning, all this experience of Israel, as a symbol of the experience of the Christian people. It mentions, our fathers were under the cloud and passed through the sea


and were baptising the Moses in the cloud and in the sea. As you know, the crossing of the Red Sea was seen as a symbol of baptism. You went through the water and were delivered. And then you went into the desert and the cloud, the divine presence, travelled all through the journey through the desert, was with them, a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. And all ate the same, it's called a supernatural, a spiritual food, really, and drank the same spiritual drink. They drank the spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ. So obviously it's a mystical interpretation, a symbolic interpretation. And they had the manna, of course, and the water from the rock, and they saw these as signs of divine providence. And so they were translated, as it were, into the industry. We have the Eucharist, we have the bread and the wine of Christ in our daily Eucharist. And then he goes on about these warnings. Some were idolatrous, some were immoral, and some grumbled.


These happened as a warning. And this is one way of looking at life. If you look around you, you can see people committing all sorts of crimes all the time. If you look at the daily paper, people are brutally murdering, there's deceit and cruelty and injustice and so on. And if you dwell on those things, you get a terribly negative view of the world. And if you think God is punishing everybody for all the evil they do, you get a still more negative view of the world. But there is another view that's also in the New Testament, and that is beneath all the sin of man there is God's forgiveness, there is God's love. God isn't just a judge punishing people when they do wrong. Jesus came the opposite, you see. He didn't come to judge and condemn, he came to forgive and to give his life for sinners. Of course, he doesn't judge, he gives his life for sinners. And it's a very different idea. The God of the Old Testament was like that. He was always punishing people and threatening them and so on.


And no doubt, at a certain stage, humanity needs some kind of discipline like that. But Jesus takes us right beyond all that view of life, all that kind of dualism of right and wrong, and opens up the mystery of love. And love goes beyond all these negatives and opens us to a fullness of life. So, we all need that. It's terrible if you go around judging people all the time. We're all doing wicked things, we all know. But it's no good judging people. Remember, the grace of God is sometimes fiercely present to everybody. You can't judge anybody. And we just have to accept that we all do things that are wrong and we behave badly, but behind it all, as we know, in our own hearts, there is this desire for good, for truth, love. So, we try to judge people in the light of God's love, and the forgiving love of Christ who came to forgive sinners and to give his life for them. That's the real message of the Gospel. Thank you.


Paul raises so many questions, and he's dealing, as you know, with this question of eating meat offered to idols. And he says, therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. And then he goes to speak of the Eucharist, the cup of blessing which we bless is not a participation in the blood of Christ, the bread which we break is not a participation in the body of Christ. A very profound understanding of the Eucharist, that it's the mystical body of Christ. The Eucharist is not the natural body of Christ, it's the mystical body, it's the body of the resurrection of which we are all members. It's profoundly, you see, the bread and the wine of the Eucharist is not simply the natural body of Christ, of Russia and Palestine, it's that body transfigured in the resurrection and become a spiritual body which is no longer limited, we are all made members of that body, you see.


St. Augustine said really beautifully, it is you yourself who are laid upon the altar. The bread and the wine of the Eucharist are ourselves, members of that body which is being offered. So this, in Paul's view, we participate in the blood, we participate in the body of Christ. The bread which we break is not... Because there is one bread, we who are many of one body, we all partake of the one bread. That is why it's significant to offer the Eucharist with one bread, to have a lot of little wafers, the whole symbolism is lost. You have the one bread and you break it, and you realize all the parts of the one bread are all members of that one body. So we all... Because there is one bread, we who are many of one body, we all partake of the one bread. The symbolism of the unity and distinction is gone. And then he speaks of this participation in sacrifice.


You see, the ancient people took it very seriously, when you partake in a sacrifice, you don't simply eat food and drink, you participate in the power which is in the sacrifice. And that power was seen to be the power of God, or the power of the gods. So he says, consider the people of Israel, are not those who eat the sacrifice partners in the altar? And, you know, you made your offering in the temple, and then you received it back, and you partook of it, and that was because it was seen as a blessing being offered to God. Then he says, what do I suggest? Would the food offered to idols be anything? Or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they offer to demons and not to God. They don't want you to be partners with demons. You see, this is the Jewish view, that all pagan religion is mnemonic. And it derives from the prophets themselves.


You see, at an early time, there was a sharing. When the Israelites first went into Canaan, they would share with the sacrifices of the others. And then the great movement, the sacrifice should only take place in the temple in Jerusalem. It took centuries to bring it, and gradually that was established. And then all other sacrifice was considered, not offered to God, but first of all to other gods, and then to demons. So, they began by seeing the other gods as Yahweh was one among other gods, and then he became one alone, and the other gods nothing. Then the other gods became demons. And that is what St. Paul inherits. It's simply one way of looking at it, a very inadequate way, because it simply ignores all the positive aspects. You see, the pagan religions weren't all negative at all, and those around the Israelites were not.


There was much worship of the Mother Goddess, and other powers, and a great deal of good. But the Hebrews took a totally negative view of all pagan religions, and by the time of St. Paul it was not established that they are demonic. And of course, if you apply it to India, it's just ludicrous, because there are demonic forces in Hinduism, and religious, and elsewhere you get offerings to demons, you get occult forces, you get sorcerers, and this sort of thing, and that is demonic. But the ordinary Hindu worship is offered to God. And the Hindu view is there is one God, one supreme being, and he manifests in different forms, and the different gods are manifestations of the one, the famous verse in the Rig Veda, the one being, the wise worship by many names. So the gods are names and forms, the one who has no name and no form, and that is Hindu worship. And you see, unfortunately, missionaries came to India with this kind of view,


imagining that all the worship in Hindu temples was offered to demons, and Francis Xavier said that all Brahmins are devil worshippers. It's a total misconception, you see, and we've all got to live beyond this total misunderstanding and realize that the Hindu offers worship to God through various forms. And the Christian has been perfectly liberated from sharing that worship which he has called for. And then so he says, you cannot take the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons, you cannot take the table of the Lord and the table of demons, and if the worship is at all, you see, there are sorcerers and evil forces and people try to produce evil forces upon others and that is demonic and evil and nobody can partake in it. But when it comes to the ordinary puja, which the villager offers, he does it in pure good faith, offering it to God in the form which we know,


very rich and uncompetitive. Then it goes on, then to deal with this question that if you are invited to a meal and the food is sold in the marketplace and may have been offered to idols, and he has this rather, I don't know what to say, complicated view of it. Normally you shouldn't worry about it, you just take it as it comes, but if somebody tells you this has been offered to idols, then because of his confidence you shouldn't take it. I think he's been rather scrupulous about it. There we are. He was in a difficult situation whereas, you see, this food was offered in the marketplace and offered to idols and sold in the marketplace and it could cause problems of conscience and he tries to answer that, but he ends up by saying, why should my liberty be determined by another man's scrupulous? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced? And so he ends with a very profound saying,


whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, it is all for the glory of God. That is really the answer to the whole thing, and that's the laws of times of old. It's no offence to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God to please all men. So it was a difficult question in Parliament at the time, obviously, and so Paul deals with it as he can, but as I say, we've got to get over this prejudice against non-Jewish religion. See, by the time of St. Paul, all non-Jewish religion was considered demonic. Nobody was allowed to worship God outside Israel. And this was simply an illusion, and the Church was taking centuries to get beyond it, but now at last we realize that God is present in every religion, and where people sincerely approach God through their religion, then God is present to them and His grace is offered to them. So we all have to learn, don't we, to interpret the Scriptures, not to do the same.


I don't know if I'm going to go express myself. Thomas, the Apostle. He was celebrated the Apostle of India, and the same is now really historical evidence that Thomas ever came to India. There are various traditions. First of all, you have the apocryphal Acts of Thomas, where he spiritually becomes a merchant to North India, and to church there, and clearly it's one of these apocryphal Gospels which are largely legendary. They have a certain truth behind it. Then we have the story of Kerala, where a lot of oral traditions come down, but scarcely any were put down before the 16th century, or something along the 17th or 18th century. They can't be called historical in any real sense. Then we have a tradition of a martyrdom in Madras,


again with no real evidence of early times. Under Alfred the Great in the 8th century, some English pilgrims came to Madras and set to visit the shrine of St. Thomas there. So the legend has been there all this time, and these legends are deeply meaningful. They have a symbolic value. People need some concrete sign. We leave the apostolic faith in India, and people need some symbolic sign of some apostle, some shrine, some place. We have in Kerala the seven churches which have been founded by him. All these are deeply meaningful as symbols. They make it concrete, real in people's lives. So we shouldn't despise them. At the same time, we shouldn't give them up the value which they haven't got. Nobody can claim that they are strictly historical. So the real meaning of it is, of course, that the apostolic faith has come to India,


has come down to us through various channels, and among others, of course, St. Francis Xavier in the 16th century. And again, we have to recognize that the way in which the Christian faith came to India has always had its limitations. First of all, in Kerala, it was a Syrian Christianity. Syrian liturgy, Syrian theology and so on came to Kerala, and that has been preserved. And the church in Kerala recently has come back to its Syrian origins, tried to restore the liturgy as it was and so on, and has a certain value, but again, it's very limited. That is a form of Middle Eastern Christianity, it's not Indian. And then St. Francis Xavier brought Latin Christianity and Portuguese with all their customs and traditions, and giving their names to their converts and so on. So we have a Latin-Portuguese Christianity.


And each has its value, but obviously each is very limited. We're not Syrians today, we're not Latins today, we're not Portuguese. And we have to ask ourselves, what is the mission of the apostolic church in India today? And of course, today we think in terms of dialogue and enculturation. When the Pope came to India last year, those were the two main themes for that issue, where dialogue with other religions, especially with Hinduism, and enculturation, expressing our Christian faith and worship in the language, the traditions, the culture of India. Now that is our challenge. And when our founders came, and most of our followers still, that is exactly what they came to do, to bring to India a church which would be enculturated and in dialogue with Hinduism.


And today, of course, the church in India fully accepts that, and that is our mission, our calling, to live out a Christian life in the context of Indian culture, which we're trying to create at this present moment. The Indian life which we celebrate is what the church in India has so far achieved in the way of enculturation. We celebrate the Eucharist in Indian style, as far as we can. It's still very limited to something. And then the other challenge, of course, is this dialogue with Hinduism. And the more deeply we study Hinduism, the more we realize the depth of the revelation of God which is given by reading the Eucharist at the present, and it's unfathomable the depth, the experience of God which is given to India in the Upanishads. It had to be put side by side with the revelation to Israel. Each has its limitations, but each with a profound revelation.


And that complementary way to see it today is that in Israel God revealed himself in a unique way in a Semitic culture, a Jewish religion. It was very profound, but again it had its cultural limitations, and Jesus came within that culture and tradition to bring its fulfillment. But again in India we have another revelation of a totally different culture and a different tradition and a different perception of the divine. In Israel God revealed himself primarily as transcendent. Yahweh is the God of God in heaven, looking down upon the earth. And in India it was God present in the earth, in the water, in the air of God, the immanent presence of God in the whole creation. And that is complementary. God is above the whole creation in heaven, transcending all, and God is totally immanent in everything, in every body, in every human being. And we have to bring those together in our lives, the transcendence of God beyond all,


and the immanence of God in the whole creation, in all humanity. Today we recognize God is present in every human being. We have in our Christian faith, each man is made in the image of God. That image is never lost. Even though it is blurred and clouded, the image always remains. God is present in every human being. And today we try to see this call of God to every human being, in Hinduism, in Buddhism, in Islam, in Jainism, in Otoastrianism, in tribal religions. We call that meeting at Assisi, which was so deeply significant for the first time in history. The Pope called the meeting at Assisi of the religions of the world, and it included the great religions, but also American Indians, African tribal people. It didn't include the Australian Aborigines, that would have been a perfect complement to it. But all the religions representative of the present there,


and we recognize God's presence in every religion, and we try to see how God is bringing all things to fulfillment in Christ. There is a movement in history and creation, gathering all things to the final fullness in Christ. And in the Church, we see that final fullness. We read in the letter to the Ephesians, your fellow citizens, members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. And the Church is intended to be a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. In India, we have to try to make this the dwelling place of God in which the Spirit has been seen to be present, which is gathering all humanity into this unity in God, in Christ. So, try to reflect on this calling of the Church in India


and our own special calling within it. And we pray for India as a whole. Many tragic conflicts in India today are going through a very difficult period. That is when faith should be strengthened. God is at work in India, bringing the whole people and the whole world into that unity of truth and love, which is the goal of humanity. Paul makes this contrast between being in the flesh and in the Spirit. It's not a very familiar language today, but really what he means to be in the flesh is to live according to the norms of, shall we say, human nature. He makes a contrast between the spiritual man and the psychic man, the natural man. And the person who lives according to sense and reason, that is really being in the flesh, according to sense and reason.


And beyond sense and reason, there is the Spirit, the Spirit of God, which is present for every person. And the Spirit is responsive to the Spirit of God. To be in the flesh is to be blind to it and to be governed simply by your senses, your natural reasons. So he says, you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. He always makes this distinction, the body, soul and spirit. You see, we have the body, the physical organism. The soul is the psychological organism, with all its faculties. And that is the natural man. And then beyond body, soul, is the pneuma, the spirit, the atma, which is the point of communion with God, where we transcend ourselves. And spiritual life is going beyond this body, soul and opening to the Spirit. We are always coming on this, but we have to remind ourselves continually. And that is St. Paul's understanding. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. To be a Christian is to receive this gift of the Spirit,


to have your spirit open to the Holy Spirit. And that is new life, rebirth, resurrection, whatever name you like to give to it. Then he says, If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will provide to your mortal bodies also through His Spirit who dwells in you. And the belief is, you see, that the Spirit has power to transform the body, soul. In the resurrection, the body and soul of Jesus were transformed by the Spirit, became a spiritual body, a spiritual soul, transcended human nature, transcended creation, became one with God. And that is our human destiny. Each person, his body, soul, taken up into the life of the Spirit and opened the life in God. So that's the gospel, and that is the hope of Christian life. So we're not there to live according to the flesh. If you live according to the flesh, you will die. If by the Spirit you put the deeds of the body, you will live. Not to live according to the natural man, you see.


Most people think there's nothing beyond the body and the soul. That's all there is to it. But it says, if you do that, then you'll die. And we have exactly the same teaching in the Upanishads, in the Karta Upanishad. It says exactly the same, that people who live in this world, think this world is everything, they go from death to death. When you get beyond this world, the limited human world, the world of time and space, open to the Spirit, the Atman, then you go beyond, you experience this eternal life. This life is temple, transience and death. The Spirit is eternal and takes us beyond time and space into the eternal, to the life in God. So if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. A little strange, that deeds of the body, but again it means the body as it is in its present limited state. Because of course the body is to be transformed in the resurrection. You have to put to death the way the body acts in the present state,


that it's limited, both in sinful habits and attitudes. And when that is transformed, then body and soul enter into the life of the Spirit. So that's the real teaching of the Gospel and of St. Paul. And it's very meaningful today. It's not denying the body and the soul, and it's not limiting yourself to them. It's allowing body and soul to be transformed by the Spirit. That is the real goal of life. All have various problems to contend with in this church in Corinth. One is in the celebration of the Eucharist. We have to remind ourselves, of course, that it was celebrated as a supper, as Jesus himself did. And this kind of disorder arose. People were eating and drinking on their own. Some were hungry and some were drunk. It's very interesting that such scandals would have arisen at such an early stage.


And it shows how the church and human nature is always the same. The most holy things can easily be desecrated. And that's what we see happening here. There are divisions among you, and so on. It's not the Lord's supper that you eat. One goes ahead with his own meal. Another is hungry, another is drunk. And then he says... He gives us this account of the institution of the Eucharist. And we remember this is the first account we have. That's the Corinthians, written about 55 A.D. And the earliest Gospel, probably written about 65 A.D. It's quite near. But it shows how very early the tradition was. And it gives us, as it came down to the poor at this time, within 25 years of the event. And we see the... Actually, the words of consecration, we call them, are never quite the same.


Each has a slightly different... But basically, of course, they are the same. And Emerson Ford interprets it... Anybody who... Yes, sorry. Everyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. And the important thing is to discern it. So he says... One minute. If anyone eats or drinks without discerning the body, he eats and drinks judgment. And obviously, it's the way you approach the Eucharist. And if you simply take it as an ordinary meal or something like that, you're obviously seeing the whole meaning of it. On the other hand, if you see it in its real meaning, then it has a saving power in it.


And I say it's real meaning, but of course the real meaning is really beyond our comprehension. It's a mystery of faith. And when we approach it as a mystery of faith, then of course it has great power in it. But we haven't got that faith in it. It loses that power. So then he says, when you come together and wait for one another, if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home. And other things, I will give directions when I come. So obviously he was dealing with a whole lot of problems which arose in the Church and dealing with them in a practical manner. And it's interesting, as I say, because it shows us what the Church was like at that time. It also reminds us, it's very important, how very different the Eucharist is now from what it was originally. Jesus celebrated it in the supper, and bread was consecrated first, and wine at the end of the meal. And the whole thing was of course in a Jewish setting.


And then it gradually developed in the Greek and Roman world, and it came down to us. And we still celebrate it in the Roman manner. But we could eventually perhaps celebrate it in an Indian manner. They've come about in time. And that is really the mind of the Church today. A very interesting book, Inculturation, has been published by Fr. Julian Saldanha of the seminary in Bombay. And it goes at length into the question of inculturation and shows how the Jewish religion was totally inculturated with influence from Egypt and Babylon and the Canaanites and the Phoenicians and all sorts of people contributing to the Old Testament. And then in the New, the influence of the first of the Jewish, and then of the Greek, and then of course we later had the Romans and so on. So we need to accustom ourselves to the idea that the Eucharist, as Jesus celebrated, was a Jewish rite. And it had to be restructured


according to the different cultures in which it emerged. And we should have an Indian Eucharist. We've got the beginnings of one which we celebrate now. But that was only intended to be a beginning. And the Vatican Council spoke of more radical changes which would be necessary. And the Church in India has not yet been able to come to that. One of the main things is to have an Indian Eucharistic prayer. And one, a very beautiful one, was prepared, but unfortunately the bishops could never agree on it and various controversies arose and we've never been able to have it. But we have to look forward to the time when we have an Indian Eucharistic prayer, once we have now a Roman. And, of course, we've got the whole celebration to be more in the manner of Indian culture, so we can keep that in our prayers, because clearly that's the mind of the Church today. Questioner 2 Consider these spiritual gifts, this spiritual courage,


you must be in a very charismatic community. It's the first example we have of these gifts, these charisms, as we call them, gifts of the Spirit. And he says, no one speaking by the Spirit ever says, Jesus be cursed. No one ever can say, Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. And this Jesus is the Lord was really the expression of Christian faith, and in a sense it remains today. The essence of Christian faith is the belief that Jesus is the Lord. And it's not only saved by the Holy Spirit when you say it with full meaning, it is the work of the Spirit. And I also think if you want to find a formula which can unite all Christians, it would be precisely that, Jesus is the Lord, which is said with full meaning, it is really the work of the Holy Spirit. And then he goes on to discern these different gifts,


and a very odd interest, you see, almost everybody must have had a gift of some kind. He says there are varieties of gifts, the same Spirit, varieties of service, the same Lord, varieties of working, the one God which does more. So the Holy Trinity in a sense is working through all, but everybody has his gift from God. And I think it's very important today to recognize that every Christian has his gift from God. And they all work together for the good of the whole. And in the course of time, you know, the Church got highly organized and clericalized, and these gifts were expected only among a few, but the tradition and what we're recovering today is the sense that every Christian has his own calling, his own gift from God. So he says, each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. One is given through the Spirit the actual wisdom, not the actual knowledge. And they usually make those distinctions, wisdom and knowledge.


Wisdom is the most profound, the comprehension of the whole plan of God and creation and so on. And knowledge is more limited, more particular, knowing this and that aspect of God's work in creation and redemption. And then you have the faith of the same Spirit and healing of the one Spirit. Faith here probably means more like in the Gospel, by faith to save thee, that living faith which enables one to overcome one's limitations. And healing, you see, must have been a very common gift, and even today, as we know, it's becoming more and more common, this gift of healing. And then you have the working of miracles. And notice it's put fairly low down on the list, and it shouldn't be given too much importance. Miracles are things which are apparently contrary to the normal working of nature, and that's about all.


Sai Baba performs miracles almost every day. If you're going to put a party, you can see him doing it. And they're not too much importance to be attached to them. And then you have prophecy, and that is partly telling the future, but more discerning the signs of the times, as they say, seeing the action of God in the world around. And that can be very important. In fact, normally in the early church, prophets were considered after the apostles. They were the chief leaders in the communities, and they went round the different communities prophesying, giving their insights to the community. And then the discernment of spirits, that's always been considered a very important gift, because there are many spirits. Some are good and some are not good, and you have to learn to discern. You see, when you open yourself in this way, you open to the unconscious, and in the unconscious there are all these gifts from God, but there are also demonic parts, so it needs great discernment.


And as you know, all kinds of disorders occur, even in the charismatic movement, but certainly in all kinds of religious movements of that kind, you get demonic forces at work as well as the evangelical, heavenly ones. And then he mentions these tongues, which of course have become very common today, and also the interpretation of tongues. And that again, that's a sort of psychic gift, you see. One has to distinguish between the psychic element and the spiritual, and speaking with tongues is psychic in the sense that it's not supernatural really, it's a phenomenon simply of partly nervous and partly psychic. It's a particular way in which the spirit can work through the body and the soul. It's a particular way in which the spirit can work through the body and the soul. It's a particular manifestation.


And again, not too much value should be attached to it, and St. Paul attaches more value to the interpretation of tongues, because that's where they're given more meaning. And then all these are inspired by one and the same spirit who are brought into each one individually as he wills. So it's a very profound conception of the Christian community in which everyone has his own gift, and all work together for the good of the whole. So perhaps we need to recover that today with all the loss and sense. All these are considered very rare gifts, but they should really be common, and especially the gift of faith, for instance, or the gift of knowledge, they're all part of the order of human body as an organism. And it fits in very well with our understanding today of the universe as a whole and of human society. Today we think of the whole universe as an interdependent whole. They say in all the stellar universe and all the planets and suns and so on,


there is this interdependence. The universe is an organic whole, everything related to everything else. And in human society, more and more we see the humanity as one society, and every people has its place within that common humanity. We try to recognize the values of each. And here in India we have a good example. We have many races, many religions, many castes and so on, and yet we try to see it all as an organic whole. Each has its place in the whole. So it's a very, very profound view which St. Paul has. And for the church it's extremely meaningful, because in the church also, as he's showing, everybody has his own gift from God. We saw yesterday the Holy Spirit distributes these gifts, and each person has his own gift from God. And no one in the church is unimportant, as he says,


and members of the body which are less important are given greater honor and so on. And so every person in the church has their own unique place in the church, their own unique calling, their own unique gift to the Spirit. Extremely important today, we're discovering it more and more. We've had this rather hierarchical system, and priests and bishops are supposed to be extremely important, and the others much less. But that is an illusion. Priests and bishops are ministers given a certain function in the church, but everybody has their function in the church, their ministry, their service. So we try to see the church today as this body with all these members, each having its own particular place. And he mentions various ministries in the church, apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, healers, helpers, administrators, speakers of various kinds. You see, you have the more unusual, apostles and prophets. Perhaps we can adopt them today.


I mean, anybody who evangelizes is an apostle, and anybody who tries to see the signs of the times for the church is a prophet. And then we have teachers, workers of miracles, not so common, but perhaps we can adapt that to, you know, modern scientific discoveries are like miracles really, and when we make use of them for the service of others, we're kind of workers of miracles. But then healers, helpers, and administrators, you see. All these different functions in the church, you know, all the callings from the Holy Spirit. It's extremely important, if we could really realize this, then the church would be something much more dynamic than it is. See, we've inherited a church with a top-heavy hierarchy on top of everybody, and the laity almost so passive, simply supposed to do what they're told. Gradually we're coming out of it, we're having the synod of the laity later this year, and the church is trying to realize the laity is the people of God,


the laos people of God, and every person has his own calling in the church, his own gift from the Spirit, and no one is more important, in a sense, than any other, just as no member of the body. Of course we can apply it to the body with the cells, there are millions and millions of cells in one body, yet each cell has its unique place and unique value, and without it the body as a whole cannot function. So that is the model we have today, and I say it's extremely important for the church and for society as a whole that we all need to reflect on its meaning. I have this great praise of love in the Ether to the Corinthians. The word for love, of course, is agape, a Greek word which had a very vague meaning before, sort of contentment, nothing very special, and it was given really a new meaning, and love itself was given a new meaning,


a new attachment, first of all, in Jesus, and then in the disciples who experienced that love. And you can't say what love is, you can only experience it as a gift of the Holy Spirit. As Paul speaks here very strongly, it's very remarkable how nothing has value without this love, this agape, and he gives all the highest gifts, he's been speaking of these spiritual gifts, you see, I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, and have not doubt, my noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, and it's easy to mistake these spiritual gifts, speaking with tongues, very impressive, very often, and it can be a gift of the Spirit, a manifest of the Spirit, and yet it has not love, it has no value. You notice I have prophetic powers, I understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and have all faith, but have not love. You see, all the highest gifts, faith and knowledge and prophecy,


the highest gifts of the mind, and in India, you know, there is a great danger of that. You often find people who have very extraordinary insight and knowledge and powers and so on, there are many sannyasis with extraordinary powers and knowing the future and being able to do marvellous things, and the test of it is love. Some, quite obviously, have great love, others you can find who really don't, and it can become daemonic, you see, when you have all these gifts without any love, when it's centred on the ego, then it becomes daemonic. The same things which are powers for good become powers for evil. But also, you often get a mixture, you know, it's not at all uncommon to find people who have great gifts, prophetic and seeing mysteries and faith and so on, and forming miracles, who've yet got something defective in them, the ego still remains, and so there's a defect in it.


And we have to discern, that's why they speak of this discernment of spirit. And normally when you look at it, you always find, you look for this power of love. For instance, you have many Zen masters, and Zen is a technique of meditation, and they often reach a very extraordinary level of consciousness. But in the genuine Zen master, you always find a very deep compassion, a genuine love, and that is the test. And when you don't find that, then you are not convinced by the other powers they have. And then he says, if I give my body to be burnt, and give away all I have and have not love, I gain nothing. So absolutely nothing can take the place of love. And of course, it's very comforting in a way, because many of us have not got gifts of prophecy, or of knowledge, or of miracles, but everybody is capable of love. No human being is born who is not capable of love. Childhood and environment and so on,


could stifle it in many ways, and for most of it it is shadowed, overcome in many ways, but the power remains. That is the image of God in us. So everybody has that capacity, and it's no situation where love cannot prevail, where it cannot answer the human need. And then he goes on to describe the effects of love. And of course, I say you can't define it, but it can be shown in its effects. And love is patient and kind, it's not jealous or boastful. See, patience and kindness, or compassion, these are the general signs of it. And when people are impatient and unkind, you know there's a defect of love. It's not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way. And ultimately, you see, love is a lack of egoism. Egoism is the opposite of love. Egoism is centering on your ego, your human limited self, and that puts you in opposition to others,


and leads to hatred and to conflict. And love is going out of yourself, it's self-transcendent, self-giving, self-surrender. And so it's always the opposite of egoism. Does not rejoice at wrong, rejoices in the right. And then this wonderful phrase, bears all things, breathes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This capacity to go beyond the outer appearances. You see, we meet with many conflicts in the world, people behave very badly, and things go wrong, and you're in so much turmoil. But the capacity to go through all that, you see, to bear it all, to have faith go through it all, hope go through it all, and endurance, that's really one of the great signs of love. So this is tremendously deep, you know, it really is a sort of a heart of the gospel, the heart of human being, you see. What is it to be fully human is to be living by love.


And then he says prophecies pass away, knowledge is imperfect, and all these other things pass away. And very interesting, now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. You see, all human knowledge, all science, philosophy, theology, technology, all these things are imperfect, effective, they're useful in our present system to some extent, but we're always looking beyond. And now I know in part, then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. And that is jnana, gnosis, that is the fullness of knowledge, and the fullness of love is also fullness of knowledge. You can't separate them. Agaté, love, is an understanding love. It's not a blind love, or a sentimental love, or merely emotional, or anything like that. It's a love which is totally informed by wisdom, by knowledge. In fact, we speak of wisdom as knowledge by love,


and that wisdom and love go together. And interestingly, you know, in Buddhism, the greatest virtues in Buddhism are pranayama and karuna. Pranayama is wisdom, karuna is compassion. So each religion has its insight into what the ultimate goodness is, the ultimate truth. And so faith, hope, and love are by these three, but the greatest of these is love. You see, faith passes away, hope passes away. When faith is fulfilled in knowledge, when hope is fulfilled in receiving what you wait for, then love remains, love is the final good. So, I think we all need, you know, to reflect on this continually, because it's the meaning of life, and we're all facing it day by day. We either fail in love, or we move towards it day by day, and this is the real test of how we're living, and whether we're living according to the gospel or not. It's an important reading from St. Paul, I guess,


and a vision of the Christian understanding of the universe. This morning we were reflecting on the last night, rather, and we did on the core message of the gospel, Jesus, life, death, resurrection. And this is the expanded vision which arises from it. And, first of all, he says, the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing, but the glory that is to be revealed. And I think we all tend to be overwhelmed by the sufferings of this world. We see so many tragedies around us all the time. Every day in the paper we have people being murdered, or people being drowned, or we have male coaches going off the rail, and people being killed. And all this is happening around us all the time, and it can be overwhelming unless you see it from the perspective of eternity. These things are happening in time, but beyond time there is the glory, as St. Paul calls it,


the life in God, which is beyond all this. They're not... they're interrelated. One is related to the other, but we must see it simply in context of time. And then he gives this vision, you see, of the whole creation longing for the revealing of the sons of God. And the idea is, if you look in terms of evolution, that the whole creation is evolving from matter through life into consciousness in us, and now it's evolving to the revealing of the sons of God, which is to the experience of God. The whole creation is created for humanity to open itself to the experience of God as sons of the Father. But the creation was subjected to futility of its own will. There is something futile, there is something meaningless in creation. And many people look round in the universe and it seems so much by chance, so much which is useless and meaningless in the whole universe, and yet behind it all we've been subjected in hope.


The universe is evolving to something beyond its present shape. Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and attain the glorious liberty of the children of God. You see, the creation isn't a bondage of decay. Decay and corruption is the law of the universe. Everything is born and dies and corrupts and so on. That is, of course, the whole of nature. But it's just to be set free from that and attain this glorious liberty. It's to enter into the divine light. Really, the whole plan of creation is matter and life through consciousness enter into the divine light and are transformed. Though the old creation has been groaning in travail until now. The whole creation is a travel, something to be born, something new which is going to emerge. We don't see, or we only just get glimpses of it now. It has all been being born all the time, this new creation. And we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit


grow inwardly as we await for adoption of sons. We're divided. One half of us belongs to this corrupted creation. We're all moving into death. And the other part of us, the spirit in us, is life and is waiting for final fulfillment. And that is the adoption of sons. That is, we enter into the divine light and experience ourselves as sons of the Father. As we all quote and say, God has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, Christ our Father. That is our Christian calling. And that ends in the redemption of our bodies. It's not simply the soul that is redeemed, the body and with the body creation. The Christian vision is always the whole creation, matter and life redeemed, transformed and revealed to the divine. So that's really the Christian vision of the universe. We have this very remarkable description of the resurrection.


As you know, the resurrection is very central to the whole Christian gospel. The resurrection of Jesus is the source of all faith. The resurrection of our bodies, as Paul says, follows inevitably from the resurrection of Jesus. But then you ask, how are the dead raised? What kind of body do they become? And it makes a very penetrating observance. What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. The seed dies in the earth and a new sprout comes up and a new form is given. So the body dies in the earth and a new body is given. And it shows great insight that there are many, many kinds of bodies of flesh. Flesh of animals, of birds, of fish. And then there are terrestrial and celestial bodies, the sun and the moon and the stars. So all these are different forms in which matter reveals itself. And the resurrection of bodies, a new form of matter.


And first today, that's not very so difficult to understand. As you know, matter is conceived in terms of energy. There are vast fields of energies and within that field there are various structures of energy. And the atomic structure is one and the living cell is another and the plant, the animal. These are all structures of energies within this vast field of energies. And the human body is one of these structures of energy. And it's not so difficult, you see, how that particular structure can break down in death and then be renewed in a new way. And the spiritual body, a very profound idea, is that all through evolution, matter is subject to spirit, to what Aristotle calls form. It's been structured, it's been formed from an atom to a molecule, to a cell, to an organism, to an animal, and to the human being. These are all... Matter is being gradually informed, developed,


developing spiritual powers. So you get sensitivity in plants, you get willingness for kind in animals, you get consciousness in human beings. And the idea is that this is all evolving to a spiritual body. Matter finally transformed by spirit and becomes a spiritual body. And it's no longer in time and space. You see, our present consciousness, the mode of existence, is in time and space. But the aim is to go beyond this temporal, spatial mode of being into the spiritual, trans-temporal, trans-spatial being. And that is the resurrection. So I think today we can see the resurrection as a term of evolution. It's the way in which the whole universe is moving to a final fulfillment. And as we said, its soul is perishable, it is raised imperishable, its soul is raised in glory, its soul in weakness is raised in power. So this transformation takes place


of the perishable into the imperishable, the weak into the powerful. And its soul, a physical body, is raised a spiritual body. You see, the physical body is matter again that knows the physics, the present laws of time and space. And the spiritual body is matter, transfigured by the spirit, and no longer subject to those laws. And then he applies it to Adam and Christ. The first Adam, the first man, became a living being, a living soul, literally. And the last Adam, Christ, becomes a light-giving spirit. So humanity comes to be with the soul, the consciousness of man, and we develop that consciousness. But the new man, Christ, is the man in whom that human consciousness is being transformed by the spirit, has become a light-giving spirit, communicates the spirit, which is the light of God to humanity. And so the first man is from the earth, the second man is from heaven,


and heaven is always the highest sphere of consciousness. You see, the earth is the ordinary human mode of consciousness, and heaven is the transcendent mode, and we're moving from our present state of consciousness, limited by matter and body, into that transcendent consciousness where we share the lights of knowledge of God. And just as we've grown here into the man of dust, in this physical being, if you also add him into the man of heaven, that transcendent being, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor is it heritable, it cannot be heritable. So it's a beautiful vision, really, you see, of a transformed humanity and a transformed universe, and that's what we try to see today. And modern physics and biology have really opened up that whole vision to us. We see it as a scientific race today, and we can see it as a bio-fulfillment of the world in which we live in. So I think there's a great deal to get from that.


Questioner 2 You call this thing the resurrection, as you call it, and you describe it in rather symbolic terms. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. And this refers, I think, to the belief we had at the early stages that those like him would not die, that a second coming would take place in their lives and they would be taken up to God. Towards the end, like the church, suspected their second coming at any time, and they lived for many years in that expectation, and then gradually it was pushed further away. And even today we still wait it, but nobody knows when it's going to come, the final conservation. Then he says, in a moment of the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet was sound, and there we raised and perished, and we shall be changed. This trumpet is rather strange, it's part of a sort of apocalyptic imagery.


There were many apocalypses where these revelations of the last days, but they've been only always in symbolic terms. After all, you can't speak of the final reality except in symbols. Our language is concerned with this world of time and space, and that world is beyond. And so we have to use the language of this world to point towards that reality. So he uses this kind of symbolism, the trumpet was sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. And that is the fundamental thing, this body is perishable, it dies, it goes into the earth, and it will be raised imperishable and transformed in that way. It's a transformation of matter, of the body, by the spirit, which gives eternal life. And this mortal nature, this perishable nature was put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature was put on immortality. And it is transformation, it's not simply discarding this body,


and it's not simply a new body altogether, it's a transformation, as we saw yesterday, we think of matter in terms of energy, and this energy can undergo these transformations all through the history of the world. Matter is transformed in such a way that it creates life, and life is transformed, and it manifests as consciousness in human beings, and that same matter, that same body, would undergo a final transformation by the spirit going beyond our present consciousness into the beyond-time space, into the eternal reality. And that is what we all look forward to. And then when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then it will come to pass the same as written, death is swallowed up in victory, death where is thy victory, and death where is thy sting. And it remains true, of course, death is the great obstacle. Everybody is going to die, many people, that is the end.


And to know there is something beyond death, that's what's always been asked. As you know, in the Katha Upanishad, there's a wonderful description of how this boy, Nachiketas, goes down into the underworld, meets Yama, the god of death, and he asks him what lies beyond death. And Yama gives him a very wonderful account of this great mystery, this great mystery of the beyond, you see. And the great saying of the Upanishads is this, that says, I know that great person at the brightness of the sun beyond the darkness. Only by knowing him one goes beyond death, there is no other way to go. So that was an insight, you see, into the mystery beyond. Only by knowing death one goes beyond death, that great person beyond. So that is the revelation, you see, which is in Hinduism as well as in Christianity, that death is not final. We go from true death into new life,


to resurrection, to transformation. Then we should have read, I think, one more verse, if I'm not mistaken, that the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. That thanks be to God who gives us a victory, so our God gives us life. The sting of death is sin. Death is due to sin. Death is a final disorder, a disease, which is due to the disorder of the whole human person. You see, sin is the disorder which puts us in conflict with the world around, with ourselves and with God. And redemption is the healing of that, a three-fold discourse, which is in harmony with creation, harmony with ourselves, harmony with God. And you see, there's the sting of death, and the power of sin is the law. That's very interesting and very typical of Paul, that sin is a state of division, and the law is a sign of division. As long as we live under the law of reason and morality,


the Mosaic law, all these laws of division, we're living in a world of dualities, and that always ends in death and destruction. The only way to go beyond the duality, beyond the law, beyond the rational mind, open to the spirit, is to go beyond duality, to enter the non-dual reality, the truth, the final being, and then we will have the victory. And that is Christ's path beyond this duality, the time and space of this world, into the transcendent being of God. And that is our final destiny, to go beyond that, which is going beyond the law, as well as going beyond sin. Questioner 2 It comes to the end of this letter to Corinthians, and as I was saying, a quick insight into the early church,


when we read these letters, Paul wrote them quite casually, he never imagined they would become Holy Scripture, I'm sure, and he caught all the details of his daily life, and we see the actual context, the situation of the church at that time, and don't forget, this is 25 years after the Resurrection, 55 AD, and Paul writes the letter with his own hand, it's a unique historic document, but I was saying, you see, most religions, their documents are quite late, for instance, the earliest Buddhist records we have were about 200 years after the Buddha's death. They're probably authentic, because people had good memories in those times, and they passed it on. But it's very different, you see, it's a matter of 25 years, the people still alive, who were present at the time of Christ, and then a whole passage of 200 years or more. So it's a very authentic document in that way.


And then he speaks, you see, the household of Stephanas, devoted themselves to the service of the saints, and at this time there were these house churches, well, buildings, of course, as we have now, Paul in the first century, you met in your houses, and people, there would be a leader, you see, of the community, and they would meet in their house. And I urge you to be subject to such men, to every fellow worker and labourer, it was a very close-knit community, but there were no bishops at this time, and no priests in the ordinary sense. There were these elders, at least they came gradually into being, the presbyters, and then the overseers, the episcopes, who later became bishops, but there were no priests or bishops, we understand, at that time. But there were these communities with the apostles, and the prophets, these prophets used to go round, proclaiming the word of the Lord, and so on,


and then the various other ministries, the evangelists, the pastors, the teachers, the administrators, helpers, that was the organisation of the church. And it's very interesting that married people could be leaders of the church, you see, the churches of Asia, that means Asia Minor, what is now Turkey, send greetings, Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send hearty greetings in the Lord. Aquila and Prisca were a married couple who came from Rome, settled there in Corinth, and the house met in their house, they were the leaders of the church in that house. And don't forget, all ministers were married at that time, or practically all. Unmarried ministers were very rare, until the second century, then it began to grow. Of course, Paul himself was unmarried, and probably John, but all the other apostles were married.


And so a married church was the normal thing at this time. And I say, it gives us great insight, you see, to what the church was at this time, we all have to reflect on what it would mean for the church at the present time, that a married couple would be the leaders of the church, you see, the church would meet in their house, and they would be leaders. So it has a message for us now, as you know, you see, it got fixed with this particular form of ministry, bishops, priests, and deacons, and it began really in the second century, the end of the first, beginning of the second century, the bishop begins to emerge. In the letters of St. Ignatius, 110 A.D., he's clearly, at least in there, in Asia Minor, there's one bishop who's head of the church, and then there are priesbitters under him, and deacons. And from that time, this ministry begins more and more to become the norm, and finally was settled. And we haven't ever seen bishops, priests, and deacons,


but it's not the ministry of the New Testament, you see. And today, many people feel that we need a much more flexible kind of ministry. There's no reason why it should all be male, for instance. As I say, there were women who accompanied Paul, and who had a ministry in the church. And we're looking now for the women that have ministries in the church, alongside men. And it's actually happening, you know, in many churches in Europe and America, there are not enough priests, and there are going to be less and less. And the parish is run by a group now, a team, of both men and women, and they each take their place. The strictly sacramental rites are confined to the men at present, but the women do everything else, teaching catechism, taking communion, even preaching, and so on. So we're coming round now to a more varied ministry, and that's probably the way of the future. And as I say, it's taking us back to the New Testament, you see. So that was the situation here,


and that was how the church was organized, and as I say, it remains a kind of model, although we can't follow it exactly, obviously, but it remains an inspiration. Then he says, that a righteous priest can die on hand, and in the end, he gives the invocation, Our Lord, come, and that is Maranatha. And as you know, Father John Lane builds this whole method of dedication on the mantra Maranatha. Maran in Arismeg is Our Lord, Maranatha is come. And it was a very ancient prayer, Our Lord, come. They're waiting for the coming of the Lord, you see. As I say, at that time, they expected his return at any time, they were waiting for the coming. There was even a time when they used to delay to celebrate the Eucharist until after midnight, and to celebrate it for up to two in the morning, in case he came that day, you see. They were waiting for the coming. When he didn't come that day, then you could celebrate the Eucharist,


which is his coming in a sacramental way. He comes to us every day, in the Eucharist, sacramentally, but waiting when he comes, not sacramentally, that's in the fullness of reality. Certainly, we're waiting for that. And that is how we should be waiting, you see. We're all waiting for the final coming so as to fully experience Christ's life, to experience it now under signs, under sacraments of science, which is present first, but we want to be there beyond the signs, in the reality, and that's what we're moving towards. And then he says, the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you, my love be with you all in Christ Jesus. These invocations are very important too, you see. They show the sort of atmosphere of prayer in which they were living, asking for grace for one another and love in Christ Jesus. As I say, they're really, sort of, the teachers, these very simple letters, the conversion is that which is important.