Sunday, 14 September 2008

Study Notes For Rowan Williams, 'Tokens of Trust' Chapter 5

The book is getting easier. Three highlights to look out for are what he says about the meaning of peace, the nature of the church, the Eucharist, and the Bible.

  1. The meaning of peace not as an absence of conflict or tension, and this includes inner peace, but peace as a dynamic giving and receiving within relationships with others. And there is always some 'action' happening in relationship! 'Peace' as conceived by many is more like escape.

  2. The church echoes the Trinity as neither individualism nor communitarianism, but personal. (Think about the person of the Father: the more he is father, the more he relates, thus person brings 'individuality' and relationship into proportionate relationship.) In this regard Williams mentions the early church metaphor of 'Body of Christ', and points out that its Christian use goes beyond the functional interpretations of paganism. The church as the Body of Christ is about gift giving and receiving, with each unique member called to bring their unique contribution to the common life. This is not just a functional perspective, but recognises that the gift of God is personal, directed to us and shared via our uniquely personal presence and activity. Not just about functional giving, but the gift giving of ourselves, albeit through ministries.

  3. The Archbishop says a lot of good things about the Eucharist, particularly relating it to the work of the Spirit and baptism. The Eucharist is not magic, but the work of the Spirit in extending the presence of Jesus in this action of making eucharist. The sharing of the bread and wine through Christ (and addressed to the Father in thanksgiving), prefigures the end of all things, when all that is will glorify God through Christ in the power of the Spirit. The eucharist gives us a clue to the cosmoc nature of salvation (just in case the Incarnation isn't enough!).

  4. Jesus is the Word of God, not the Bible. The Bible is the primary witness to Christ and is not a text of magic answers to life's questions. It witnesses to a history and a life: God's history and life (Father and Son), and God's history and life with the cosmos in Christ.

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