05 August 2016

At Ease

A friend recently commented on another forum that he appreciated it when a man was "at ease" in the chancel. I think what he meant was "doesn't bumble around unsure of what he's doing" or "isn't ostentatiously parading himself around." But the lingo conjures up in my mind's eye the day I was horrified to see a pastor actually park his rear on the altar. I don't think "at ease" in the chancel is what anyone should ever desire.

Rather, focused upon the unseen but very present Thrice-Holy One. When the servants of the liturgy in the chancel are focused upon the One before whom they are gathered and whose spokesmen they are to be, they behave themselves in a way that bespeaks reverence and awe. It is true that the all-consuming fire has revealed Himself to us as our beloved Father and called us to sonship in Christ by His Spirit, but we never forget in the chancel that the One who has so called us remains the all-consuming fire.

A friend recently described the ministry as itself a "sign," that is, a pointer to something else. That's right on the money. When the folks in the chancel are confessing the unseen but present Blessed Trinity, the angels, and all the saints by their behavior and action, that quite literally draws the congregation in, not to look at those in the chancel, but to get a glimpse of what they are so utterly intent on. And what a blessed moment that is! When a room full of harried and distracted sinner/saints get a glimpse of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, reigning on His throne in infinite love. Why they might just break out singing:

Almighty Father, in Your Son
You loved us when not yet begun
Was this old earth's foundations!
Your Son has ransomed us in love
To live in Him here and above,
This is Your great salvation!

Now, not at ease, but at awe. Bowled over by love so amazing, so divine.

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