Anglican Essentials, Class 3 (2 pages)

Anglican Spirituality: Supplementary Material

The Anglican C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God.  God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature.  That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life in us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.

Geoffrey Rowell in a sermon on April 25, 1992, to mark the bi-centenary of the birth of John Keble (1792-1866), a leader of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England (from Rowell’s book, The English Religious Tradition and the Genius of Anglicanism):

Of the churches of the Reformation, the Church of England alone gave great prominence to the doctrine of creation.  Its greatest theologian, Richard Hooker, whose work Keble edited, wrote that ‘all things are partakers of God, they are his offspring, his influence is in them.’  The world is important, matter is important; they are in God’s creation, and to be seen and known as such.  The world is sacramental, pointing beyond itself to God.  And the worship of the Church is inescapably sacramental, embodied.  It was not for nothing that the rediscovery of the understanding of the Church as a divine society by Keble and the other leaders of the Oxford Movement went hand in hand with the rediscovery of sacramental embodied worship.  Baptism as the root and ground of our spiritual life; the eucharist as a sharing in the heavenly banquet.

If Keble shared with Wordsworth and Coleridge a vision of the glory of God in creation; he knew also that the world was fallen, and that sin and evil were not shadows but realities. ‘Some persons think,’ he wrote, ‘that because “God is love” there can be no severity in Him.’  But the holiness of God and that very love is judging in a sinful and unloving world.  And so the Christian life is penitence entwined with praise.

The Anglican ethos is captured in the hymns sung in the liturgy.

From The Hymnal, 1982, Stanzas 1,3 from #656, words by John Keble:

Blest are the pure in heart, for they shall see our God;
The secret of the Lord is theirs, their soul is Christ’s abode.
He to the lowly soul will still himself impart
And for his dwelling and his throne will choose the pure in heart.

From The Hymnal, 1982, Stanzas 1,2 from #488, Irish, about 700 AD:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; all else is nought to me, save that thou art—
Thou my best thought by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father; thine own may I be; thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.

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