Becoming too familiar with holy things.

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I just finished reading a wonderful spiritual reflection by an Episcopal priest, Marcus Halley, on why he has started wearing his cassock again. It’s beautifully written and although it is mainly of interest to his fellow Priests, he asks a question that’s important to all of us: Are we becoming too familiar with holy things?

Halley writes:

The Eucharist became another “task,” something else “to do” on a Sunday morning as we priests, the “professionally religious,” engage the hundreds of people who come to Church looking for something – peace, joy, community, love, fulfillment, coffee.  It became a ritual in the worst sense – a habit that I was too familiar with. That Sunday morning when I stood before God’s altar, holding the bread and wine that still seemed to me to be just bread and just wine, I had a moment when I wanted to cry because despite my best effort, I had become too familiar with holy things.

As a former pastor and now, sometimes small group leader, there’s nothing I enjoy more than leading communion. I think it’s one of the most amazing gifts the church has been given. It’s a mystery, it’s wonder, it’s basic, it’s deep, it’s… Something only God could construct.

Even if you don’t subscribe to a sacramental understand and prefer the term ordinance, the question is still valid. Do you take your Bible for granted, do you take the Church and other Christians for granted? How about your baptismal call? How about the death on the cross and resurrection of our Lord? How about your salvation and the leading of The Spirit, working in and through your life? Do you take the very existence of your faith for granted? Is it so well worn that it is no longer new?

Like Fr. Halley’s professor said, we must “always … be on our guard against becoming “too familiar” with holy things.

Fr. Halley found renewal in taking his eucharistic preparation more seriously.  It helped him renew his call as a Priest. How can you renew your baptismal call to live out the resurrection everyday, to be a witness to the Gospel and to seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit daily. Are there aspects of belief that are a little dried up and needs the living water of our Lord to renew them? 

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his face continually.
Psalm 105:4
 

One thought on “Becoming too familiar with holy things.

  1. I have pondered this a lot, not so much with communion, but with the sacramentals we my have in our house or at church. I don’t really think most people will over do it, but does it become ordinary. I have some blessed salt, and blessed olive oil. Now you can use blessed salt to bless your home. You can also cook with it, just like you can with the oil. If I used the salt every day on my food, or most days, it would lose it’s meaning to me, of what it represents. So I only use it to bless my house with, but, I will use it during a difficult time in my life, or during a sickness, because it is a blessing and a prayer, and I can see that when I am sick or having a really rough time. I don’t use it otherwise, except for cooking on Holidays, to ask God’s blessing on all the food. On normal every day stuff, I never use it.

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