“What will survive of us is love,” writes Philip Larkin in his remarkably unsentimental poem “An Arundel Tomb.” He is reflecting on the recumbent stone effigy over the grave of a couple buried long ago in an ancient church.
Maybe we should take a step further, however, and say that love is that which not only “survives” but also rises, or is raised, from any and every grave. This is especially important to bear in mind in the face of all the threats to love, those powers and forces that try to bury it.
The first thing that struck me about First Presbyterian Church in Dallas was not the imposing building where one of my longtime heroes, John Anderson, once served as senior pastor. No, the first thing that grabbed my attention that day was the church sign: "Justice is love distributed."
It was the spring of 1988. We had rounded the corner of the liturgical year again, and although I'd preached Easter sermons many times, I was feeling relieved that I was not preaching the Easter service that year. Senior minister Thomas Allsop would preach to the throngs of parishioners and visitors at historic Beechgrove Church of Aberdeen, Scotland.
I remember a conversation my mother and I had one day after worship
in the small rural church in which I grew up and where she and my dad
are active members to this day. The preacher had preached on the passage
"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matt.
To champion institutions, institutional values and institutional thinking may seem like the ultimate fool’s errand, and On Thinking Institutionally may be the dullest title you’ve ever come across, but Hugh Heclo’s analysis of U.S.