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Homily that has fallen out of fashion

16 March 2011


From the Revd Dr John Bunyan

Sir, — I have only just seen the routine report of “a commercial fashion show” in Ripon Cathedral (18 February). Can one imagine that in an Orthodox or Roman Catholic church or cathedral?

The Homily “On the Right Use of the Church”, among other things, states that “The chief and special temples of God, wherein he . . . most delighteth to dwell . . . are the bodies and minds of true Christians. . . Notwithstanding, the material church or temple is a place appointed . . . for the people of God to resort to . . . by the Holy Scriptures . . . called the House and Temple of the Lord. . . And all . . . resorting thither ought with all quietness and rever­ence there to behave themselves, in doing their bounden duty and ser­vice to Almighty God, in the con­gregation of his saints.” Timely.

It is so easy to lose a sense of the church building as a sacred space, set apart and consecrated. We may not yet have many commercial fashion shows, but when, for ex­ample, there is often now so little silence in church and so little kneel-i­­ng, and when entertainment of one kind or another and chummy greet­ings seem to be more important than holy communion, no wonder there is less sense of awe in the presence of a holy God, indeed less of any sense of the very reality of God. Own goals indeed.

7 Richard Avenue, Campbelltown
New South Wales, Australia 2560

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