Liturgical Pop-Up: what does Christ as our "mediator" really imply?
Dear Trinity Church,
We are finally figuring out how to do Pilgrimage (Drive-Thru) Church! The lines have been much shorter (thanks to two communion lines) and we even had live music! Thank you for your patience and faithfulness. And for those who have not been able to come, just know you are in our hearts. And that brings me to this meditation ...
Those of you who came to church received, from Fathers Matt/Carson, a gift for you to remember this time of separation and quarantine for years to come. In addition to forging the crosses from which hang all of our Stations of the Cross, Jim Moore has forged smaller Trinity crosses for each family - to use in any way you would like. We thought about coasters, and some have spoken of affixing these to their front door. The Koempels have decided that the forged cross will help them say "Here I am" to their daily dishes! (Go Koempels!)
The cross is a physical reminder that, despite physical separation, we are constantly connected to one another in Christ.
We are not often given the opportunity to lean into this doctrine. But with the virus, we have the rare chance to understand that
Jesus' mediation isn't simply about the atonement, but about everything.
As Bonhoeffer writes, "He is the mediator, not only between God and manbut between man and man, between man and reality."
Jesus' mediation didn't begin with our sin (though it has taken on a very urgent form since the Fall), but with the very way the world was created: through him and in him. Jesus' mediation isn't reserved for emergencies. It covers every aspect of our lives. And this - during the time of the virus - is amazing news. It takes (what feels like) a restricting and narrowing of our lives, and tells us that this is an illusion!
Bonhoeffer says it best:
"All the time we thought we had enjoyed a direct relation with men and things. This is actually what had hindered us from faith and obedience. Now we learn that in the most intimate relationships of life, in our kinship with father and mother, brothers and sisters, in married love, and in our duty to the community, direct relationships are impossible... We cannot establish direct contact outside ourselves except through Him, through His word, and through our following of Him. To think otherwise is to deceive ourselves. However loving and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behavior, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul. Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbors through Him." (from The Cost of Discipleship)
So if you have received the metal cross, or when you do (and contact us for one if you are unable to come!), let it remind you that our reality is in Christ. Our relationships are in Christ. Everything is connected in Him.
We are facing disconnection of an unprecedented sort, but let it drive us to the truth which is under it all. That we are in the Mediator. And so are your loved ones! And the rest of us in Trinity!
We miss you.
We are deeply connected.
PS - I’m hosting a book group around The Theology of the Ordinary tomorrow (Wednesday) evening, 7:30-8:30pm. We’ll open up the “zoom room” at 7:15 in case people want to log on early and chat. We’ll start at 7:30pm sharp with some teaching, then a focused break-out group, and more teaching. It will end at 8:30 sharp.