Monday, 18 January 2010

Intuition, epiphany and Emmaus to begin the week of prayer for Christian Unity

The director of Faith and Order Canon John Gibaut gave a good and thoughtful sermon this morning as we began the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. He began his sermon very consciously with a joke, making us laugh and getting us to see how the intuition and infectiousness of laughter can tell us something about how understanding of ideas works - in this case the idea at Edinburgh 1910 that the disunity of the Church was actively harming its mission. Given our striving and struggling and attempts at imagination with some of the current institutional expressions of ecumenism it was enormously liberating to think about the ecumenical ideal as an intuition.
John's own intuition also pointed us to how intuition and blocked intuition works in the wonderful chapter 24 of Luke's gospel, the story of Emmaus. It is only as the bread is broken that the scales fall from the eyes of the disciples, as they begin to see who it was with them on the road to Emmaus and remember how their hearts had been warm and alive as he spoke to them, so intuition grants them the insight that this is indeed their risen Lord and as that deep understanding comes he is no longer to be physically seen.
Here are a couple of extracts from the sermon which I will post in full once he's written in the joke - or link to on the WCC site if it gets posted there:
These “epiphany” moments or flashes of intuition characterise so much of the encounters between God and humanity in the Bible. The recognition of God’s self-revelation is so often the experience of deep intuition.
Like laughter, the news of the resurrection is infectious, and spreads, and is shared as the Risen Christ continues to be there where two or three are gathered in his name however unrecognisable, and we caught off guard by the unexpected, and know intuitively that the Lord is risen indeed!