Message from the chaplain - 23 June 2017
In reading up on another topic, I was reminded of the work of the late
Brennan Manning. I love the manner in which Manning laid bare the
love of Christ: stark, moving and real.
Manning was a Roman Catholic priest who left the priesthood and
chose to marry. Vital to understanding his perspective is the fact
that he was a recovering alcoholic. Thus, Manning had a depth of
understanding of God’s love and forgiveness that only someone who
has a deep awareness of our fallen human nature could possibly have.
Manning knew deep within his heart that Jesus sought out and loved
the ragamuffins: Manning himself, and you and me.
“The contagious joy of Jesus (only carriers can pass it on) infected
and freed His followers. The author of Hebrews says, ‘Jesus Christ is
the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever’ (13:8).
If Jesus appeared at your dining room table tonight with knowledge
of everything you are and are not, total comprehension of your life
story and every skeleton hidden in your closet; if He laid out the real
state of your present discipleship with the hidden agenda, the mixed
motives and the dark desires buried in your psyche, you would feel
His acceptance and forgiveness. For ‘experiencing God’s love in Jesus
Christ means experiencing that one has been unreservedly accepted,
approved and infinitely loved, that one can and should accept oneself
and one’s neighbour. Salvation is joy in God which expresses itself in
joy in and with one’s neighbour’ (quoted from Walter Kasper, Jesus the
Christ, (1977),p. 86).
“Therefore, it is unimaginable to picture a wooden-faced, stoic, joyless
and judgmental Jesus as He reclined with ragamuffins.”
- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel (1990), pp. 63-64.
Revd Claudia Coustas