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©2002 The Society of
Archbishop Justus, Ltd


Hallo again to all.

Recently we heard a teenage girl tell her friend that 'I haven't been that cold since I sat on concrete at Oberammergau for six hours and listened to people tell old stories in German.' Not even an hour later, we read an exultant review in The Times saying 'West End erupts with joy at gift from Africa'. The Times' reviewer goes on to say:

It’s a South African adaptation of the 14th-century Chester Miracle Plays in four languages (English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu) and in every skin colour known to apartheid. It begins with the Creation and takes us to the Resurrection and beyond. It’s a celebration of healing, wholeness, togetherness: South African, human, universal.

We're sure that 14th-century Chester Miracle Plays are attempting to convey approximately the same message as was Oberammergau's Passion Play, but their abilities to communicate an old message to new audiences could not differ more. The Times comments drily that 'The Queen’s Theatre’s South African Mysteries have done what the Church of England has been striving to do for decades and given Christianity an audience'.

So often these days the word 'traditional' is a shorthand code word for 'detests homosexuality and rejects the ordination of women'. We find the tradition of our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church to be so rich and deep that we can be utterly traditional without voicing any opinions at all on those so-called bellwether topics. Reading in The Times the review of this mystery play, which got a standing ovation from an English audience, we don't think 'Gosh, I wonder if they are guilty of the Arian Heresy?' or 'Isn't their theology a little on the Gnostic side?' but rather 'It is two thousand years later, and Jesus is still Lord'.

We are now three Sundays into Lent and we're spending more time than usual thinking about what it means to be a Christian and an Anglican. Who would have guessed that we should find a good answer in the theatre review pages of the Times? But (thank God) the Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways and blows where She* blows. Part of what we find ourselves doing this Lent is trying to pay more attention to the Holy Spirit and be more pious.

'More pious? What?', we hear you thinking to yourselves. 'Be more pious? Oh, please'. Our thoughts exactly, until we read columnist Pierre Whalon's latest essay on piety, holiness, and the richness of the Anglican tradition.

See you next week. In the meantime, practise your piety.

[Note to Steve: We tried really hard to publish by midnight ...]

Cynthia McFarland's signature
Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 3 March 2002

*The Hebrew word for Spirit is feminine, and we don't like referring to part of the Trinity as 'It', despite the Greek.