Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reverend Pewsey's Last Sermon

One day one is still modifying one's habits, for better or for worse. And the next one may be already facing an eternity with the habits one has acquired.

One day, one is free to let God into one's heart - or not. And the next one has either started an eternity with God - or one without him.

One day one is dancing or laughing. And the next one faces an eternity with whatever the dance or laughter was really about: the joy of God or the joys and sorrows of the flesh.

Only, the flesh can no longer provide its joys. Those for whom all joy on earth was for the flesh are doomed to take the sorrows of the flesh along to eternity. The itching in the groin when one hopes for a romance - but there comes no romance of it.

Or the impatience to humiliate someone - but one is no longer in a position to even gloat.

Yes, Hell is a place, but it is also a state of mind - any state of mind that does not turn itself to the source of joy, if taken to eternity, becomes a source of bitterness.

While on earth, a flirt may be turned into a marriage, in itch in the groin may be put to use for fertility, an enemy one hates may be forgiven, at least - for some - after humiliating him. But that kind of change for the better is no longer possible when one is dead.

It seems some of the people I bury were playing about a land where they met Christ in the shape of a lion.

How silly, you might say! Indeed, rather: how sælig as the Anglo-Saxon root is of that word. How Blessed. If we cannot pray except by playing, well, let us play.

If we cannot be grown up, except by neglecting God, let us become again as children for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.

Maybe the seven people I refer to were taken away, because they were ready.

Maybe some were spared because they were not, because they are in need of some time for changing.

It was Reverend Pewsey's last sermon in the Anglican Communion. He was deposed for being a hellfire preacher, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church. And he died soon thereafter.


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

This theology of hell is not quite the same for us Catholics. Jack Lewis*, in The Problem of Pain, states about this, and I think he got it from Charles Gore - a Bishop who died in 1932. It means that God is saying to the damned: "this is what you really wanted, but you did not know it clearly enough", the Catholic view is rather God says: "this is what you earned and you did know it clearly enough". Even an Anglican bishop agreeing with Reverend Pewsey would have taken the view the occasion was inappropriate.

*Officially C. S. Lewis, but he detested to be called Clive Staples and preferred Jack.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Back to list of extant chapters