Friday, January 1, 2010

Rowan Williams on the Daily Art of Faith

"How it was that both [Thomas More and Thomas Cranmer] discovered at the end not only the freedom to die but -- at least in More's case -- even a kind of ironic detachment about it is bound to be mysterious, but it does say to us that God's freedom may be growing secretly in all sorts of unlikely people. We may not have a chance to see it if the great hour of public trial never comes, but it is still there nevertheless. It may even be there in us, who shrink at the idea of suffering for our faith or anything else. This is where it helps to be undramatic. If we felt sure of our willingness and ability to make unimaginable sacrifices in the future, if we were able to imagine without shame and terror how we would react if we were faced with persecution, we should have succeeded in taking possession of our future and enthroning our favoured image of ourselves. We do not and cannot know the future, however. What we therefore have to do is what, presumably, More and Cranmer did in the midst of their compromised and murky lives: we have to make room for God in prayer and repentance, day after day. At the time of trial it will become apparent how honest we have been in inviting God in. Meanwhile, there is only the daily art of faith, the necessary prose of Christian speech."

--Rowan Williams, Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgement (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 113-114

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