Tag Archives: Mark Galli

Friday fragments — 19.02.10

A short FF, and one day late due to the meeting of the Working Group on Worship over the past two days… I’ll post something about that soon.

Questions on the Revised Common Lectionary?

At the Working Group, we were talking about the Revised Common Lectionary among other things. Vanderbilt University has a great site for the RCL, and this FAQ page is part of it.


Spiritual Transformation

We’ve gone off-lectionary at the moment at Centenary Uniting Church… We’re talking about spiritual practices. But how do we talk about their effects? Mark Galli discusses why the spiritually-mature don’t talk about their maturity.



The Working Group on Doctrine is putting out a series of ‘doc.bytes’, short articles in pdf format on doctrinal issues for reflection and discussion. Take a look at the latest, on baptism; the others are here.

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Filed under Liturgy, RCL, spiritual practices, Uniting Church in Australia

The heart’s centre

I’m reading a wonderful little book by Mark Galli called Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy.

At one point Galli talks about how the liturgy helps us to know God—not an intellectual knowledge alone, not just a knowledge of the heart, but a knowledge that excites imagination. He quotes St Paul (1 Corinthians 2.11-12, here from NRSV):

For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

He then says,

Oxford scholar Stratford Caldecott aptly called [the knowledge of God] sobria ebrietas (“drunken” sobriety)—both “ecstatic, rapturous” and at the same time “measured, ordered, dignified. It is an encounter with the Other which takes the heart out of itself and places it in another centre.”

In other words, this is the knowledge the Bible usually talks about, deeply personal, so deep it is mysterious, so personal that it manifests love.

This is a really evocative passage for me. Galli has nailed love here—it is the heart’s centre being placed in another, and their heart’s centre being placed in us. It applies to human love, and to the love God has for us and we return to God. The centre of our heart is placed in God, and—amazingly!—the centre of God’s heart, the Spirit, is placed in us.

Drunken sobriety, indeed.


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Filed under books & reading, reflection