DEDICATION OF THE CHURCH OF GETHEMANI
The Lord did not intend to abide in Solomon’s Temple forever!
Dear “Living Stones”, it seems the older we get the more often our favorite
celebrations or Solemnities come around! I guess that’s a good example of the –
getting a bonus with an onus! A prime example of that is – today’s
Anniversary of the” Dedication (or Conscration) of the Church of Gethsemani”.
In today’s Gospel (The Samaritan Woman) a new Temple is promised that
has been fulfilled!
The word ‘church’ (like synagogue) can mean a physical building, or
spiritual community. The
word ‘temple’ can have similar meanings. The ‘church’, or spiritual
community of Gethsemani, began when the first monks arrived here in 1848.
Today we are celebrating the ‘official’ beginning of the Church building when
it was dedicated in 1866, and re-dedicated after its extensive renovation in
the late 1980’s. As St Bernard put it to his monks centuries ago- regarding
this particular Feast -. “If we don’t celebrate it, nobody else will!” Actually, if
today there was someone who would like to celebrate this Feast with us, we
could not invite them – for obvious reasons.!
Some time ago on this Feast, our Fr James now over 70 years as a monk of
Gethsemani, shared the following with us. “Actually the consecration of this
church is based on our original consecration in Baptism. There, we also were
consecrated ,we were anointed with chrism, just as the walls of this church
were; we were given a candle just as the walls of this church are illumined by
twelve candle, symbolizing the light of Christ which is given to us through the
twelve apostles. We are told by St Paul that “the temple of God is holy, which
you are”! Consequently this feast is a feast of ourselves as a people of God,
dedicated to Him.”
Our dedication, our consecration is an affirmation of the SACRED – of the
true character of the Church’s mission to our secular (post-Christian)
culture. We bear witness to the standards of moral life which are founded in
the sacred word of God. As a practical application of our dedication we are
called to continually build up within ourselves, as temples of the Holy Spirit, a
.a spirit of penitential adoration, through that same Holy Spirit won for us –
by Christ’s Passion and death.
. This church building stands here today as a sign, a reminder, a call to
remembrancer, a call to recognition of a sacred reality, a remembrance of the
holiness of God! In today’s very secular culture, with its secularized
institutions, this church is to be a continual reminder!: This building and all that
belongs to it, and all that goes in it, is to reaffirm the SACRED! All that takes
place here, day after day, the continuous recitation of common prayer, the
solemn celebration of the Eucharist, all the word and music of our liturgies,
should be reminders of the holiness of God That must be our dedication.
One final word…
Some years ago I met a man named “Livingston”. As we talked, I mentioned
the “Living stones”
St Paul said we all are. It turned out this person was an unbeliever and would
have none of that! But, thanks be to God – We are believers; grateful for it,
for being continually built up, a sacred work in progress!. AMEN! ( 2 Chron
5:6-10, 13:-6:2, Eph 2:19-22, John 4:19-24 ) Fr Alan