The reading from 1 Peter seems oddly disconnected from recent lectionary themes. What are we to make of this language of fiery ordeals and roaring lions during Easter season? It conjures up images of Joan of Arc, John Hus and others who met their ends in the cruel and literal flames of persecution.
The Areopagus--the former location of the Athenian
equivalent of the Roman senate--was a center of civic life. The name comes from
"Ares," the Greek god of war, and "pagos," which means "hill" or "rock." The
Roman equivalent of Ares is Mars, hence the translation sometimes used: the
Eating at my city grandmother's table was a chore. I remember being dressed up, speaking in soft tones
if at all, and being terrified of spilling on that lace
tablecloth. But my country grandma served her meals in the kitchen.
One might not expect to find so much common ground between a Lutheran and a Roman Catholic liturgist. Yet Dirk Lange and Bruce Morrill's books challenge that perception as each author strives to revise rituals and make them more meaningful for our age.
St. Cyprian said that we can't have God as our Father if we don't have
the church as our mother. It seems, however, that we live in an age in
which people are less inclined to become church members—even when they
are happy to have some church associations.
A statistical projection is not a prediction, but if the number of Christians in Britain continues to decline at the current rate, there will be no more British Christians by 2067. Between 2001 and 2011 the church lost 5.3 million members—about 10,000 each week. The rate of decline in the Church of England is higher than that of other denominations. In one survey the numbers dropped from 40 percent of the population in 1983 to 29 percent in 2004 and just 17 percent last year. The decline in the Catholic Church is not as precipitous because of the influx of Catholic immigrants. Sometime in this century Muslims will outnumber Christians in Britain (Spectator, June 13).