December 18, 2011

Occupy Jesus

Now mark that—this is the Gospel truth. If you are prepared to say that the Anglo-Catholic is at perfect liberty to rake in all the money he can get no matter what the wages are that are paid, no matter what the conditions are under which people work; if you say that the Anglo-Catholic has a right to hold his peace while his fellow citizens are living in hovels below the levels of the streets, this I say to you, that you do not yet know the Lord Jesus in his Sacrament. You have begun with the Christ of Bethlehem, you have gone on to know something of the Christ of Calvary—but the Christ of the Sacrament, not yet. Oh brethren! if only you listen to-night your movement is going to sweep England. If you listen. I am not talking economics, I do not understand them. I am not talking politics, I do not understand them. I am talking the Gospel, and I say to you this: If you are Christians then your Jesus is one and the same: Jesus on the Throne of his glory, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus received into your hearts in Communion, Jesus with you mystically as you pray, and Jesus enthroned in the hearts and bodies of his brothers and sisters up and down this country. And it is folly—it is madness—to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the Throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children. It cannot be done.

There then, as I conceive it, is your present duty; and I beg you, brethren, as you love the Lord Jesus, consider that it is at least possible that this is the new light that the Congress was to bring to us. You have got your Mass, you have got your Altar, you have begun to get your Tabernacle. Now go out into the highways and hedges where not even the Bishops will try to hinder you. Go out and look for Jesus in the ragged, in the naked, in the oppressed and sweated, in those who have lost hope, in those who are struggling to make good. Look for Jesus. And when you see him, gird yourselves with his towel and try to wash their feet. 

Bishop of Zanzibar Frank Weston
From his concluding address to the Anglo-Catholic Congress 1923

18 comments:

F. Harry Stowe said...

Oh wow! I am not used to thinking of muscular Christianity in the same sentence as the lacy frock set, but here is the nitty-gritty Gospel in the hands that wield the smoke! And from Africa yet. Deo gratias!

Mary Clara said...

Amen!

JCF said...

Amen!

[Have you read Elizabeth Kaeton's blog entry for today? You two seem to be on the same (blessed) wavelength]

Lionel Deimel said...

Thanks for this, Tobias. You are becoming an impressive researcher.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, all. Bishop Weston's speech was well known in Anglo-Catholic circles, but I think tended to be neglected in the latter years of the last century. I think it a good time to bring it out once again.

Jon said...

The bishop is wrong on only one point. We shouldn't wait to see Christ in the poor before we serve them any more than St. Martin did.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Jon, touché! It does seem to be the case that one comes to recognize Jesus in the very process of serving: or even not! (Isn't that the point of Matt 25?) Like Martin of Tours, we may not know whom we've served until after the fact... Thanks for the reminder of that important truth.

Bex said...

Shorter Bp. Weston: It's time to realize we can't worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore him on Monday.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thx Bex. Of course Bp W was echoing John Chrysostom in all this: do not adorn the altars with fine cloths in honor of Jesus while you pass him by naked and shivering in the street...

Br. Chris said...

Thanks so much for posting this Tobias. I've known this passage for many, many years -- at least since my early teens. This sentiment certainly informed my dad's ministry, and also Fr. Weed's at St. Luke's, and they were both coming at this from an Anglo-Catholic perspective. I always remember my dad saying in confirmation class that if we were to be totally consistent, we would genuflect not only to the Blessed Sacrament, but to each other as well, since the Real Presence of Christ dwells in each of us with as much fullness as it does in the tabernacle. Powerful stuff for a nine-year-old!

I also completely agree that we discover Christ in serving the poor, rather than recognizing Christ in them first. At Fessenden House I have discovered Christ in some of the most unlikely people -- most powerfully, perhaps, in a man who murdered his own brother! The presence of Christ was so strong in him you could practically see his halo.

I am reminded of the story of Francis and the leper, and the strange paradox it presents. Francis recognizes Christ in the repulsive, loathsome leper, and runs to embrace him. Yet Francis was also Christ to the leper. So Christ was ministering to Christ in Christ.

It gets a bit confusing trying to figure all of this out. Perhaps it's best just to assume that every person we encounter is Christ!

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks Bro Chris!

Grandmère Mimi said...

I think it a good time to bring it out once again.

Yes, indeed it is. Thank you Tobias. It is true, I believe, that we often recognize Jesus as we begin to serve others. I'm reminded of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who recognized Jesus only when they had served him the meal...and Jesus broke the bread and served them.

Rev. Kurt said...

Thanks Tobias.

It reminds me that I saw this in seminary, when Fr. Louis Weil talked about the sacraments.

He also pointed us to this from E.B. Pusey:

If we would see Him in His Sacraments, we must see Him also, wherever He has declared Himself to be, and especially in His poor. In them also He is 'with us' still. And so our Church has united mercy to His poor with the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and bade us, ere we approach to receive Him, to remember Him in His poor, and so, loving much', we, who are otherwise unworthy, may be 'much forgiven', we, 'considering' Him in His 'poor and needy', may be permitted to behold Him; and for Him parting with our earthly substance, may be partakers of His Heavenly. Real love to Christ must issue in love to all who are Christ's, and real love to Christ's poor must issue in self-denying acts of love towards them. Casual alms-giving is not Christian charity. Rather, seeing Christ in the poor, the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, we must, if we can, by ourselves, if not, by others, seek them out, as we would seek Christ, looking for a blessing from it, far greater than any they can gain from our alms. It was promised of old time, as a blessing, 'the poor shall never cease out of the land', and now we know the mercy of this mysterious blessing, for they are the Presence of our Lord.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thank you, Kurt, for this snippet of the glowing thought of E B Pusey. He of all that early generation of Anglo-Catholics, really seems to have grasped the import of Christ's promise that the poor would always be available in whom to serve him.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I left a comment last night, because I'm subscribed to the thread, but I don't see it here. Perhaps I'll try to reconstruct later.

Anyway, the quote is apt and timely.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, Mimi. Your comment got lodged in my inbox, but it is posted now, as it well ought to be.

stanchaz said...

I write from NYC, and the Bishops words resonant... For you don’t need to be Christian, or even religious, to understand -and embrace- the idea that "Whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." But many of the 1%, in blind greed and endless schemes, have forgotten this. They have closed their eyes to what the word "society" should really mean, and what it can mean. But due to Occupy Wall Street, we are finally talking less about CUTS and more about BLEEDING. Instead of demanding m-o-r-e budget cuts -to be borne by the middle class and poor- we are FINALLY focusing on the shameful bleeding that the poor and middle class has endured, for all too long. Instead of talking about even m-o-r-e cuts in the taxes of millionaires....we are now talking about fairness and justice - about an economy and a political system that is increasingly run for the rich, and by the rich. Instead of talking about LESS government, we are talking about a government that WORKS FOR ALL OF US, not just a favored few. Thank you OWS, for reminding us that people -ordinary working people- really DO matter, and for helping open our eyes to what’s going on in this country, and why. The attempt by OWS to occupy Duarte Square (the empty lot owned by Trinity Church) is much more than a plea for sanctuary. For like Zuccotti Park, it’s an attempt to carve out a protected space, a living conscience for the city, amid the repression. A refuge...in a city where control-freaks would sweep us under the rug, and out of the way. In a city where they would pen us in, and try to permit us to death. In a city that tells us to “move on, move on”..... you don’t belong, you don’t count, you don’t have a right to be here...don’t assemble, don’t block the street, don’t trespass, don’t EXIST! They would deny us, deny our lives, deny our very futures. IF WE LET THEM. But OWS responds, both in word and in DEED: it says we’ve had ENOUGH - we BELONG, we STAND our ground, and we DO matter! This IS our land, and we want it BACK! The word OCCUPY...says it all! That’s why OWS has captured our imagination. That’s why a living breathing OCCUPIED public space is important for OWS. Like Lady Liberty’s never extinguished torch that burns in our harbor, OWS needs to have a concrete, persistent, in-your-face presence.. ..to continually remind us of what we’ve lost, of what we are, and what we can be; a protected place to affirm, illuminate, defy...and inspire. Trinity Church, with its oft-proclaimed ideals (and its huge land holdings), should look deep into its collective soul, do the right thing, and help OWS secure a sanctuary. Not merely a space of refuge, but an enclave of hope, of non-violent change, and compassion. And dare I say: a space of love - love of country, love of your fellow man and woman, love for the poor and oppressed. Can thoughtful Christians argue with these simple Christian / these simple HUMAN values? For if Christ were physically with us today, as He was 2000 years ago, He would be among the FIRST to climb those fences, and occupy Trinity’s Duarte Square. Of this I am certain. Let us hope and pray and plea...that Trinity Church -and others- hear the call, and respond. For the old ways are not working. Find a quiet place somewhere, and consider this: Each of us has only one brief life....one chance....one roll of the dice....and many choices. The time has come to choose....to risk...and to act. If not now...then when? If not you, then....who? You DO have the power my friend....and the choice IS yours. Don’t let your hopes and dreams die: LIVE YOUR IDEALS!

Anonymous said...

dear Stanchaz:
Your thoughts are being transmitted all the way to Olympia, WA. thank you, and God bless you and other Occupiers, wherever they may be!