Monday, July 07, 2008

Citizens of two countriies, ... reflections on Ian Markham's sermon

From the Dean's Commentary today, read it HERE.

Dr. Timothy F. Sedgwick

Friday we celebrated the 4th of July, beginning with a morning Eucharist. To the musical setting “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius, we sang “This Is My Song” with the words, “This is my home, the country where my heart is; here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine; but other hearts in other lands are beating with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.”

The Dean, the Very Rev. Ian Marham, reminded us in the sermon that we have dual loyalties. Just as we have special obligations to members of our family while also being brothers and sisters in Christ, so we are citizens of particular countries while called to serve all people. The particular and the universal: it’s a matter of “both-and”.

The relationship between the human city and the city of God is complex. The nation is a school of virtue and yet also but a shadow of our heavenly calling, sometimes a Jerusalem, sometimes Babylon. As a daily worshiping community—now in full session with students in our D.Min. programs and MACE program—we cannot escape the particularity of lives. Our worship itself is particular, even as it both signs and is juxtaposed to the mission of God. It was just right to begin the 4th of July with a Eucharist to celebrate the nation’s birthday under the sign of the cross and in the breaking of the bread.

Dr. Timothy F. Sedgwick
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Virginia Theological Seminary

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