Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


To the glory of God

I am often struck by the care that goes into the altar linens, seen up close by so few. The delicately stitched cloths have beautiful designs—a cross and vine, a lamb or wheat and grapes. The same cloths are lovingly washed, ironed and folded just so. The attention to detail speaks volumes about the importance we as a congregation place upon our common worship, our worship space and the items we use in worship. The 19th century Danish philospher Søren Kierkegaard captures this in his work, Purity of Heart

altar linenes in use in worshipWhen a woman makes an altar cloth, so far as she is able, she makes every flower as lovely as the graceful flowers of the field, as far as she is able, every star sparkling as the glistening stars of the night. She withholds nothing, but uses the most precious things she possesses. She sells off every other claim upon her life that she may purchase the most uninterupted and favorable time of the day and night for her one and only, for her beloved work. But when the cloth is finished and put to its sacred use: then she is deeply distressed if someone should make the mistake of looking at her art, instead of the meaning of the cloth; or make the mistake of looking at a defect, instead of at the meaning of the cloth. For she could not work the sacred meaning into the cloth itself, nor could she sew it on the cloth as though it were one more ornament.
How can we put such care into whatever God calls us to do that others see our work as being to the glory of God. If this is difficult, as Kierkegaard states, for the woman sewing an altar cloth, how much more so for the soldier, policeman, teacher, real estate agent, banker and so on. Yet each of us is called to do just that. The meaning of our work, no matter what we do, is that we do it as if our work is God's glory.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church


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