4. Speaking in a Fleshly Way: Participation in the Mission of Word and Spirit
A couple of poems recently would suggest that I have been attempting to encapsulate messages in chapters of Downey’s book. But chapter four defies such presumption. It is too broad. It is perhaps the best macro-exposition of the church’s purpose in the world that I have ever read.
It starts with the bracing realization of the kenosis (self-emptying of God the Son in the flesh – Philippians 2). It confirms the Father’s approbation at Jordan’s Baptism and at Tabor’s Transfiguration (Matthew 17). It shows a microcosm of worshipful living in inter-racial harmony at an extraordinary convent in Ecuador. It puts all Catholic sacraments in their proper places as expressions of that Love manifested in the Father’s Word made flesh (Son) and continually communicating in the energies of Breathing (Spirit).
It is crowned in the images of the Upper Room Table and the Cross. In addressing human shortcomings and sufferings the Love Gift of Trinity has its/His greatest room to operate as the purest pouring forth of compassion, blessing, forgiveness and truth.
“Tabor’s light shines in the experience of human brokenness and loss, and in the deep desire for communion in one Love. God’s grandeur is seen in the self-giving of Christ at the table and on the cross, pouring word and Spirit into his new body, the church itself. The church then is gift/ed to be and become a theophany* of love in flesh and breath, the house of Tabor’s light for all the nations.”
And all this issuing from and through a Roman Catholic priest (this Protestant attests).
(* visible manifestation of God to man)