Readings for William Temple Archbishop of Canterbury, 1944
“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 9 – 13)
I think William Temple accepted, and received, Jesus as the true light and was thus made a child of God.
“Temple was born October 15, 1881, and baptized three weeks later, on November 6, in Exeter Cathedral. His father, Dr. Frederick Temple, Bishop of Exeter and then of London, became Archbishop of Canterbury when William was fifteen. Growing up at the heart of the Church of England, William’s love for it was deep and lifelong.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 6) He didn’t have to find the church, the church pretty much made him. While I sometimes wish I had a “from birth experience with the church”, I am glad and thankful that I found the church even though I was not brought up that way.
“At the age of two, he had the first attack of the gout that would be with him throughout life and eventually kill him. His eyesight was bad, and a cataract, present from infancy, left him completely blind in the right eye when he was 40. However, he was an avid reader, with a near-photographic memory, and once he had read a book, it was his. He was a passionate lover of the music of Bach. In literature, his special enthusiasms were poetry (Browning and Shelley), drama (the Greeks and Shakespeare), and a few novels, especially The Brothers Karamazov. He believed that theological ideas were often explored most effectively by writers who were not explicitly writing theology.” One of his more well-known quotes is this: “The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.” (James Kiefer for November 6) I think if we don’t take away anything else from Temple we should remember his quote. I put it this way: The Church is in the world for the world, not for itself. This view helps us to resist the urge to become cathedrals, but rather, missionary stations.
“Though he was never subject to poverty himself, he developed a passion for social justice which shaped his words and his actions. He owed this passion to a profound belief in the Incarnation. He wrote that in Jesus Christ God took flesh and dwelt among us, and, as a consequence, “the personality of every man and woman is sacred.”” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for November 6) William Temple did more with one good eye and one good foot than many of us do with both eyes and both feet (me very much included).
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+