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last minute Paschal thoughts: Sebastian Moore on Easter

April 7th, 2007 by isaac · 2 Comments

As I’m sitting here trying to preach faithfully an Easter sermon, I was reminded of a book I recently read by Sebastian Moore. His books always reveal new insights into what it means to abide in the love of God. Anyhow, here are some incredible passages from his book from the 1980s, The Fire and the Rose are One. I think they get to the heart of Easter. I wish I could just read passages from his book and call that a sermon.

The ‘God’ [the followers of Jesus] were now experiencing in the company of Jesus was incomparably more real than the God of traditional religion. It was as though they saw through the hallowed symbols and rituals to the burning reality itself. The corollary was: if this fails, if Jesus fails, if this movement piles up against the stone wall of this world, then God is finished. The only God now believable would have proved powerless. There would be no going back to the traditional God. (80)

The movement came to nothing. Jesus was arrested and led away. In shame and confusion, utterly unprepared for so rude a turn of events, they fled. Those dark days would be a much more radical desolation than what we call the Dark Night of the Soul. The person who enters the Dark Night does not look back on such a heaven-on-earth as did the followers of Jesus. For them, God had involved himself so much in the life and the movement of Jesus that the failure of the movement was much more like the death of God than his mere absence. (80-81)

The bewilderment of Golgotha is its necessary climate. No instruction, no intuition, no vision even, can dislodge guilt from its central position in the human soul, whence it directs the soul’s perception of God. Nothing short of the catastrophe can do that. When the catastrophe has done its work and left the soul in pieces, no longer holding itself together under the dreaded infinite power, then at last the Absolute can be encountered not as power but as love: the Absolute encountered as love, not by any equation that the mind or heart of man could conceivably dream up, not in thought, but in the psyche. (90-91)

Consolation, when it comes, is what Ignatius called ‘consolation without a cause’. This is one of the principle ways in which the presence of God is known, in which a new thing of the soul is known to be of God: when a previous period of severe God-deprivation has made it impossible for this lifting of the soul to be anything else than a touch of God. (106)

It was only the conflict between Jesus and the forces of this world that the disciples had to face the ultimate crisis of the soul, the death of God which dissolves the master-slave relationship and leaves a void. That void is filled by Jesus newly and bewilderingly alive: alive in a way for which there is no category and in which life’s ultimate value and meaningfulness are not shadowed and questioned by death. (112)


Tags: reading corner

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Richard L.A. Schaefer // Oct 28, 2009 at 11:32 am

    It should be “This is one of the principal ways….”

  • 2 isaac // Oct 28, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Thanks, Richard, for the correction.