Who will sing the New Song

Israel sang it with Miriam

by the shore of the Red Sea at the edge of the desert

Moses sang it on Mount Nebo

seeing the land but not entering it

David sang it in front of the Arc of the Covenant

dancing awkwardly

Daniel sang it with his friends

in the overheated furnace

 

Isaiah sang it

when the escaped ones returned

The wisdom teachers sang it

during the encounter with the rationality of the Greeks

The Maccabees sang it

in the face of the inexhaustible oil of the temple lamp

 

Zachariah the silent one sang it

Mary the pure one visited by God sang it

Old Simeon sang it

 

Jesus sang it over the small and poor that saw

Paul sang it when he found the future of Israel

 

The desert fathers sang it

when they turned their backs on the corrupt cities

Benedict’s monasteries sang it

when they cultivated the jungles and swamps

Francis sang it

when he left everything behind to move pope and sultan

 

It roved around and lent its notes

to the enlighteners and Church critics

Did Nietzsche not sing its melody

Did Marx not hold its sheet music

in his hands upside down

 

Why were its verses split after Luther

Why did its beauty leave the churches in modern times

Why did it have to ring out as a song of death in Auschwitz

And why almost die

under mountains of concepts and papers

 

Who sings the New Song today

that is not just melodious not just true

That continues to tell the story

 

tac

Clerical project management

The Church should “reinvent” herself, is a piece of high-profile advice, a demand in view of the turbulences.

To that I can only say: No, the Church does not need to reinvent herself, the Church is not even capable of reinventing herself because she did not invent herself in the first place. The Church is not an invention of man, but God’s project, which he started – also because of our sinfulness – and which he carries through the times in spite of it!

 

Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, January 27, 2019, in the Regensburg Cathedral

On the Christian Europe

by J. Ratzinger

This so-called Christian Europe for almost four hundred years has become the birthplace of a new paganism, which is growing steadily in the heart of the Church, and threatens to undermine her from within.

The outward shape of the modern Church is determined essentially by the fact that, in a totally new way, she has become the Church of pagans, and is constantly becoming even more so. She is no longer, as she once was, a Church composed of pagans who have become Christians, but a Church of pagans, who still call themselves Christians, but actually have become pagans. Paganism resides today in the Church herself. In the long run, the Church cannot avoid the need to get rid of, part by part, the appearance of her identity with the world, and once again to become what she is: the community of the faithful. Actually, her missionary power can only increase through such external losses. Only when she ceases to be a cheap, foregone conclusion, only when she begins again to show herself as she really is, will she be able to reach the ear of the new pagans with her good news.

 

Translated from Joseph Ratzinger, Die neuen Heiden und die Kirche (1958) by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.: https://www.hprweb.com/2017/01/the-new-pagans-and-the-church/

 

The story of the foundling

Every Sunday at mass we hear texts from the bible. Every time they read us the riot act properly. And yet we like to go, yet we always like to listen to the old texts, always newly curious and attentive. Why is that?

They speak of a place of longing that is closed off to us, we hear of a world of longing that we have no access to.

The place of longing came into the world “when Israel came forth from Egypt”. The people around Moses wanted leave the land of meat kettles of drudgery and bondage, they fled to the desert with the dream of their patriarch Jacob; and during the 40 years of their life in the desert they sweat out a new order of life; and Moses brought it down on tablets from the mountain of the Lord, of the God of their father Jacob. In the Torah, their new principle of life, and in their life God proved Himself their savior. And Israel swears: “We will do it!”

For over a thousand years they lead this life with their new God, who saves and envies. For the religions court, Israel gives in, lies on the ground, repents, gets up, swears, courts further. And then they build Him a temple, with the Torah in the Holy of Holies and with a high priest.

Israel is doing poorly. Foreign powers alternate in their reign of drudgery on the country. During the reign of the Romans one of the sons of Israel gets up: Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up! “But he was speaking about the temple of his body”, the community of his discipleship, the rest of Israel that fully listens to the word of God in the flesh, with the entire entirety of life, and the entire intellectual capacity of thought, and entirely out of pure joy. The gospels tell us of this revolution of Jews and Gentiles. “The kingdom of God is among you.”

The Church grows, grows, grows rampant, becomes temple, becomes the world religion. Over the course of a thousand years and more its highly differentiated theology grows along with the temple-church-religion. It grows along with a theology of the kingdom of God, of the place of longing in the world beyond and our meek earthly vale of tears.

The gods return in other powerful places of longing in this world. The communist religion of salvation spreads brutally over half the world, the brown canopy stretches over Germany, and in this Reich the “salvation of the Jews” was unbearable for the Heil Hitler. The world witnesses the inconceivable genocide of the people of God in the midst of Christianity.

Today “after everything is over forever”, today we live in a materialistic, capitalistic, global lap of luxury, addicted to places of longing, with a little bit of pleasure for the day and a little bit of pleasure for the night. We want to dance, in a boundless pleasure-world-place-of-longing, and we are dancing on a volcano. Because our exact world of science shows us the consequence of such dancing. A moment of materialistic, capitalistic, global fraternity? A possible solidary look outside the box of our goings-on? In the world we are like little bacteria in a round Petri dish in a super nutrient solution. The bacteria thrive, multiply, multiply on and on until the entire dish is filled. “Have dominion over the Petri dish!” Then the super nutrient solution is used up and the bacteria die. That’s how it goes, even with the big animals. Empty churches, empty world. Where can help come from? Our help is in the name of the Lord! Lord? Address unknown? rus

Expectation and reality

by J. Sacks

The Jews have learned to see the world completely differently. The book of Genesis, the first book of Moses, starts with God, who creates man “in his image and likeness.”

This sentence has become so familiar to us that we forget how paradox it really is – in the Hebrew Bible God has no image or likeness. But in the following tale it quickly becomes clear what humans have in common with God: freedom and responsibility. This creates a difficult theological dilemma. How can we reconcile the great hopes that God puts in humanity with the shabby and thin file of our moral history? The answer is: forgiveness. God wrote forgiveness into the script. He always gives us a second chance, and then another and another. All we have to do is recognize our wrongdoing, ask for forgiveness, make up for it and decide to do better – and God forgives. We can uphold the highest expectations, if at the same time we honestly admit our most hidden weaknesses.

 

Translated from: Jonathan Sacks, Vom Schicksal zum Glauben, Jüdische Allgemeine, 9. September 2018

Not mission, but dialogue

by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI

The task Christ left to his disciples is the mission among all peoples and cultures. The goal is to introduce people to the “unknown God” (Acts 17,23). Man has the right to know God because only he who knows God is able to live the human existence properly. That is why the missionary mandate is universal – with one exception:

Missionizing the Jews was simply not intended and not necessary because they alone among the peoples knew the “unknown God”. Therefore, it is not mission that applied and applies to Israel, but dialogue about whether Jesus of Nazareth is “the Son of God, the Logos” for whom, according to the promises made to his people, Israel and, without knowing it, humanity waits. Taking up this dialogue anew is the task set for us in this hour.

 

Translated from: Joseph Ratzinger/Benedikt XVI., Nicht Mission, sondern Dialog, Herder Korrespondenz 12/2018

Noble restraint

“The churches stand up for…”

– others to act.

 

“Waiting for God”, the noblest form of failure to do good.

 

Abandoning oneself to God often means abandoning God.

luw

 

Safe distance

The bible could become a bestseller

because a method was found

to read and interpret it without doing it.

True: The official should take a back seat

to the cause. He represents it as a witness,

he does not produce it. – But today they step so far

into the background that the cause stands alone. luw

Today’s Creed:

I believe in the harmony within the universe and

That the Jew Jesus was an example of the new

Gentle man and

That the spirit blows everywhere (except in Rome)

And that therefore we don’t need a Church. Amen.

luw

Struggles of the beginning

How Moses had to begin at the beginning and teach them beginnings, that is to be deduced from the simple precepts with which he started to work and chisel and blast. Not to their comfort, certainly, for the stone does not take sides with the master but against him; to the stone the first stroke struck to form it appears as a most unnatural action.

Moses was always in their midst, here, there, in this and that encampment. Shaking his broad-wristed fists, he jogged, censored, chided, and churned their existence; he reproved, chastised and cleansed, using as his touchstone the invisibility of the God JHWH who had led them out of Egypt in order to choose them as his people..

From: Thomas Mann, The Tables of the Law (1944)

Pages