PETER AND PAUL
Fr. Alexis Vinogradov asked me to make available my sermon of last
Sunday on Sts.Peter and Paul. It existed in writing as notes on tiny
pieces of note paper which I tossed after use... so it will be a
re-creation and perforce different and further without the occasion
(a baptism and a parish picnic also) it can become something quite
other... but here.
I think there are points of general interest or I would not put it
here...points within the subject that is , not claiming anything for
my words on it. this time I will allow myself to set the thoughts in
number to give each its space.
STS. PETER AND PAUL
1.That Peter and Paul closley follow Pentecost is natural because the
outcome of Pentecost, the Church, is always in persons. and in a
2.Just as many figures in the book of Genesis seem to go beyond being
personal and in some way to be archetypes, so too of Peter and Paul
at the beginning of the Church appear as larger than their individualities,
without loss of those. Peter still the passionate man and fisher, Paul the intellectual.
But we may speak of Peter as archetype of the authority and order of the
Church, he holds the keys, he is the rock. in a planetary model of the atom
he could be the nucleus around which the traveling man Paul moves like an
electron. and Paul the archetype of evangelism, teaching ,theology.
3. But this is true, when the Church is the Church and not some shadow
of itself, only in the sense that authority and order are always authority
and order OF LOVE.
so Jesus last questioning of Peter "do you love me more than these[others}..."
so the Church associated to Peter for the times to come is described by
Clement of the early Christians as "the Church which presides in Love."
4.So too with Paul and with theology and evangelism , when it flows form
the words of Corinthians chapter 13 on Love being the source and end of all,
then the Church is the Church and her theology and evangeilsm are theology
of Love and evangelism of Love. without which a theology or a preaching are
as empty and useless as are order and authority. not love as a sentimental
blurring of word or act but love as an impulse and inner life.
5. One might ,of the apostles, in particular see John and Thomas as another
pair of archetypes referring to two other aspects of the fullness of the
John as perhaps contemplation of love and Thomas as knowledge and
clarification of Love. "when John and Thomas are separate the Church
suffers" says Mary in a play by Charles.S. Williams.
6. This completing of one in the other, and both in all, does not of course
stop with Peter and Paul and the early followers of the Way. But it is the
life of the Church in all times and places and will be through all ages ...
7.So Vladimir Soloviev in his "short story of the antichrist" (which
allows itself some of the form of the kind of apocalyptic story common
now in cheap fiction and b movies but has an inner clarity and
intelligence quite independent of that form. this an added note not in
sermon ) finds a final reunion of Christians in the meeting in a wilderness
place of men bearing the gifts of Peter,Paul and John. (perhaps Soloviev
himself was of the school of Thomas I think now, going off the main
thought again. ) but of a final unity realized between persons
completing each other.
8. Now what is important is that each person in the Church, including
the newly baptized of last Sunday now named Max, is meant to share a
uniqueness which is absolute and irreplaceable in history... this means
you or I also have that to share which goes to the complete and final
unity and convergence of all that rises and wakes ...each then touched
by an archetype which however does not come as an alien imposition ,
or possession by an archetype, but by that which is ones own proper
being. the touch which could be called 'touched by an angel'(to refer
again to a B television item) is from beyond but also from within
bringing to full life.
9. The full realization of the person and gift of each man and woman
is the completion of the work begun at Pentecost and continuing on the
path marked early by the lives and legacies of Peter and Paul. We live
towards it in every moment of prayer and in everything we share as
Christians completing each other as we can on the way...
10. The image of Peter and Paul ,within the larger context one might say,
painted by Maria Struve of Paris. to complete these words by passing
into color and light ...