Project Canterbury

The Call of Christ.

A Series of Brief Addresses in Holy Week Given at the Garrick Theatre, Chicago, in 1931.

By the Right Reverend George Craig Stewart, D.D., S.T.D., L.H.D.
Bishop of Chicago.

Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing Co., 1931.

THE Lenten Noon-day services are under the auspices of The Church Club of Chicago. These addresses are published at their request.


Far above earth's tumult
The call of Christ we hear:
Shall its gentle pleading
Fall on a heedless ear?
O hear the call of Christ!


The call of Christ is to mercy and pardon and peace,
The call of Christ is to warfare that never shall cease,
Till we shall enter that land of promise where true joys abound:
Then onward press, my comrades, we are gaining ground.

Not from far-off country,
Or land across the sea,
Comes with earnest pleading
The call of Christ to me.
O hear the call of Christ!


He who is my neighbor,
And needs a cheering word,
In his faintest whisper,
The call of Christ is heard.
O hear the call of Christ!


--C. Austin Miles.


"Follow Me!"--ST. MATTHEW 16: 24.

JESUS! Jesus only! In this Holy Week He shall dominate all our thinking as we follow Him day by day in the dark hours of the climax of His Passion. Through the whole of Lent I have had but one text for my confirmation addresses--"The Master is come and calleth for thee." And that shall be the haunting refrain of my addresses this week.

You see our Master had, in the hour of His crisis, not only the comforting presence and power of the Father, but He had what you and I so wistfully reach out for in the hour of our crisis--the close, warm, staunch support of friends. A friend is one who comes in when all the rest of the world goes out; a friend is one who doesn't need to understand all--he [1/2] just gives all in love. And He had friends who were not in the foreground: He had warm friends in Bethany. I suspect His mother spent this terrible week of anxiety with them, with Mary and Martha, and Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead. When Lazarus was taken sick--news had swiftly been sent to the Master, "He whom Thou lovest is sick"--strangely the Master delayed His coming. Lazarus died. Martha of the bustling temperament and the quick tongue went out to meet Jesus. Her greeting had in it an accent of reproach, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died!" "Thy brother shall rise again," said Jesus. "I know," said Martha, and launched into a discussion on eschatology, which issued in our Lord's great announcement, "I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" "Yes, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, which should come into the world." And when she had said this she went her way and called Mary her sister, secretly [2/3] saying, "The Master is come and calleth for thee." And she arose quickly and came to Him.

That is the setting of my text. To you I am calling personally, yes, and secretly, saying, "The Master is come."

I. The Master! My Master! How shall I say what that word means to me? What shall the plant say of the sun which is its life? Or the thirsty throat of the cold water from the spring? Or the slum dweller of green fields and trees and singing birds? Unless, as Shakespeare says, "he falls to babbling!" It is difficult for a Christian to speak of Him without becoming winged and rhapsodical. I shall try to keep a more pedestrian stride. H. G. Wells, who can scarcely be called a fanatical Christian, calls Jesus Christ "the dominant figure in history." "No historian," he says, "without theological prejudice and bias can view the development of human history and not give the preeminent and dominant place to the penniless Nazarene. When He commenced His great teaching of the Kingdom of Heaven--that was a new day in the history of the world!" There He is, the watershed of history: human [3/4] events date up to Christmas (B.C.), and away from Christmas (A.D.). He never wrote a book, yet literally thousands of men have given up their lives to translate His life not only into the seven hundred dialects of different languages, but into the more thrilling and eloquent syllables of whole peoples and races and tongues lifted up out of darkness into light. He was not an architect, and yet the greatest buildings of the western world are built for His worship all the way from Santa Sophia in Constantinople to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. He never wrote any music, and yet Haydn, Bach, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Wagner lift their highest notes in swelling oratorios to pay tribute to His majesty and beauty and power. He never wrote a book on sociology, and yet His social teachings are so planted even beyond our twentieth century that all statesmen, prophets, seers are struggling ever to bring their followers up to catch even a sight of the ideals which Jesus Christ holds out to us--still far beyond our reach. The very warp and woof of the ethical life of contemporary man comes from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. [4/5] We face the problems of this day and try to see them with His eyes, because we know that only thus have we won what civilization we claim. If an institution can be shown to be anti-Christian we know from experience it is doomed. Men became convinced that slavery was such an institution and it had to go. Infanticide was such a practice and it had to go. War is being recognized as anti-Christian and it will have to go.

This young man who appeared in the reign of Augustus and died miserably upon a cross in the days of Tiberius has stepped out of the memories of men into their hearts and dominates their lives all over the world. The reason is not far to seek. It is not merely His words, though they represent the high tide of human thought and utterance, nor His flaming honesty, nor His high courage, nor His large vision, nor His passion for the poor, nor His compassion for the sinful--it is His revelation of what God fully revealed in manhood means man to be, it is His unfolding to us the mastery of life in a personality so big and pure and overcoming and joyfully victorious that men leap to their feet shouting "God with us," "Emmanuel," and [5/6] then get down on their knees to worship God "through Jesus Christ our Lord."

2. That Master is come and calleth for you! He wants to get hold of you and help you. One of you to whom I am speaking is this very day on the edge of going down in the battle. The strain has been almost too great. He calleth to you! "Hold on! Don't quit! I'm behind you!" One of you has given up and gone down: you have slipped and slid and sliddered down from the level where your life was radiantly lifted once: He calls to you," "Come back!" One of you has suffered such desolating pain and grief and loss that you have lifted up your voice out of the depths and said there is no God. The Master comes and calls to you. The clearest water of life comes up through the garden of Gethsemane, and the richest fruit of life is ripened on the tree from which a cross is made.

"It is intended we shall rise
Only through pain into His paradise.
Woe unto those who placidly suspire
Drowned in security, remote from fire,
Who watch the falling yet who never fell,
Shadows not yet ascended into hell."

I remember in France when General Edwards of the 26th Division lost his adjutant. [6/7] I buried him--a gallant soldier. His brother, a captain of artillery upon the Meuse, came to see me afterwards. Loosening the collar of his trench coat, he let the tears come fast. "Chaplain," he said, "my brother was the finest, cleanest, dearest pal a brother ever had!" What could I say? I handed him in silence a card that had a picture of a soldier with a shell bursting in his face. He went down, but into the arms of Christ, and over that figure of Christ he threw a clutching arm. Underneath the picture it said, "Hard hit! Hold fast!"

3. I said He was calling you, each of you, according to your need. But to all of you He calls, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me!" How imperative! How peremptory! He calls for your absolute surrender to Him. During the Peninsular campaign some captured officers were brought to Wellington's headquarters. With courtly foreign grace they began to eulogize his generalship, his tactics, his strategy. But the iron duke broke in abruptly with the curt demand, "Gentlemen, your swords!" It will not do for us to stand before Christ telling Him [7/8] how we admire Him and esteem Him and even love Him. He interrupts, "Why call Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?" He challenges you. To follow Him means to change your life. "There has been only one Christian," said Nietzsche, "and He died on the cross. It is the shrewdness of Christianity that its disciples talk about their beliefs and obey their instincts!" Give that the lie!

Will you follow Him?

When Garibaldi, fired by the ideal of a united Italy, set himself to free the fatherland, he addressed his followers: "I offer you fatigue, danger, struggle, death, the chill of cold nights, and heat under burning suns, no lodgings, no munitions, no provisions, forced marches, dangerous watch posts, the struggle of bayonets with batteries. Those who love freedom and their country follow me!" Did it daunt them? It allured them.

The Master is come and calleth for thee! His symbol is the cross, but His enterprise is the Kingdom of God and life--eternal life for a world of men.

General Booth lay dying. He had lived a wonderful life of service as an evangelist. [8/9] His friends were gathered about him. "Tell us, General, before you go, what has been the secret of your life?" The old man thought a moment, then he slowly said, "If there is any secret, it is this"--(we wonder what he will say: will it be flags, and drums, and street meetings, and house-parties, and parades on the street!)--"It has been this: Christ has had everything there is of me." All things are yours and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's!


"Abide in Me. . . . I am the vine, ye are the branches."--ST. JOHN 15:4, 5.

THE Master is come and calleth for thee. Yesterday I spoke upon the call for individual allegiance to Jesus Christ. He is peremptory, mandatory, and He will be answered. You cannot evade Him. The other week I went into a great church in the east. They had just built a hanging rood (a crucifix) in the church, but to my astonishment they had hung it so high in the arch that it was all but lost in the shadows. I asked why, and the answer was, "If it were lower it would obstruct the beautiful east window!" My answer was, "That's what a rood is for! You cannot escape Jesus Christ hanging upon His cross!" He cannot be evaded. He keeps calling, "Will you stand with Me? Will you follow Me, be My disciples?" And [10/11] many a man says, "I will, and now what's the next thing to do?" Well, our Lord made it quite plain. He not only called men--He called them into a group, into a fellowship, into a community, into a new Israel. Religion is not merely an individual matter. It is a social thing. If a man says religion is very simple, it is the commerce of the soul with God, I reply, it is more than that--you have left out a dimension of life--religion must include your fellows.

1. I know the easy way in which shallow critics discriminate between Christ and the Church. "I don't have to be a Churchman to be a Christian," says one; "I love Christ, but I hate the Church," says another; "Too many hypocrites in the Church," says a third; "It's a subsidy of Caiaphas," says a fourth. Jesus--yes--He is to be followed; but what has the Church got to do with discipleship? The crushing answer is, read your Gospels and read your history! If there is one thing clear in the Gospels it is that Jesus Christ picked twelve men and trained them as a compact inner group, the nucleus of an organization which has swept out and down the centuries proclaiming the good news of the Son [11/12] of God. And we can see why He picked twelve. There were twelve tribes of Israel and He was come not to destroy but to fulfil, not to found a new Church so much as to renovate the old. "You have not chosen Me but I have chosen you," He says, "and appointed you to sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." When Judas fell, that organization, that Church which He had founded, met and elected his successor, St. Matthias. That Church, organized about the apostles, swept out into the world like a flame carrying everything before it. It didn't begin in Rome. It began in Jerusalem. The first Church was not the Roman Catholic Church, but--if you must give it a local name--the Jerusalem Catholic Church. It went up the coast to Antioch, swept St. Paul into its irresistible forces, went over into Asia Minor, into Greece, up into Italy, up into Germany, over into Spain, to England, to America, and is now sweeping on into the Orient and into Africa. And from the very first the call of Christ was to be baptized into it, to become a sharer of its life, and a sharer of its power, and a sharer of its responsibility.

[13] 2. I know it has been full of sinners. What did you think the Church was, a club for shining saints? But if it has been a hospital for sinners, it has also been a training school for saints, who have been disciplined and trained in her fellowship not as men in barracks but as soldiers on the march; and if it hadn't been for the Church you wouldn't have had a book of your New Testament (most of the books are the letters written by that gallant missionary, St. Paul, to the missions of the Church that he established), and the very name of Jesus Christ would have been as vague in the minds of men as Aknahton or Asoka.

The Master comes and calls you into His Church. That was what He called it. St. Paul called it His Body, yes, and the pillar and ground of the truth, and the fulness of Him that filleth all in all; and St. John called it His Bride, not a human institution made by men, but coming down out of heaven, a bride adorned for her husband.

There is only one way you can enter the only Church there is--the one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, and that is by being born again of water and the Spirit, by [13/14] being Christianed--"christened"--given a new name, a Christian name; then you are in it. I was born an American, and I am an American. But it is not in itself a guarantee that I am an ideal citizen. Still I am an American. And baptism is no guarantee that you are an ideal Christian. Still you are a Christian. Well, what difference does it make? None, if you regard it as magic. Everything, if you regard it as sharing in the social life of the Master. "I am the vine, ye are the branches," says Christ, "as the branch cannot abide by itself, so you cannot except ye abide in Me."

As a bishop, it is my privilege to do what the apostles did when a person had been baptized--to lay my hands upon the baptized and to confirm them into the faith, and to admit them to the highest privilege of the Christian, to their communion in the broken body and poured out blood of Christ.

And when I do so, it all comes out, it is quite clear what baptism into the Church implies--

"Do you renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world?"

"Do you believe in the Christian faith?"

[15] "Will you try to keep God's holy will?"

"I receive this person into the congregation of Christ's flock; and do sign him with the sign of the Cross, in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under His banner against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end!"

3. So the call of Christ to fellowship involves three things. Renunciation of the roaring pagan world. (Today some try to make us believe that the new standards of ethics have cancelled all this world and flesh and devil, that the conflict today is between a bright new science and outworn religious taboos. It isn't, it is the old conflict between the bright sanctities of life and the blear-eyed old indecencies, and we all know it or ought to know it.) Christ calls us to decide, to take a stand with Him or against Him. It is largely a matter of taste, someone says. That's it--if you have a taste for Christ you lose your taste for all that is anti-Christ and you are baptized into a fellowship that will not surrender His standards.

[16] Then the call of Christ is to faith, and that doesn't mean what the little girl once said she understood it meant--believing something that isn't true, but rather trust, confidence, assurance that Jesus Christ was right that God is, that God is not a metaphysical formula but a Father, that He came among us in the flesh, suffered with us, rose from the dead, and leads the way to life everlasting.

And then it is a call to will, a call to effort, to duty, effort to do the will of God. Who can appraise or evaluate or measure or weigh the power of a human will? I always admired the wings of the "Spirit of St. Louis" that carried Lindberg across to France. But I admire more the spread of wings of his own daring imagination. I always respected the engine of that plane that kept on firing day and night until he came to his goal; but I admire infinitely more that something supra-mechanical, the mystery of the indomitable will within the man which is recorded in his diary: "I thought of turning back, but I decided to go on!"

The Master is come and calleth for thee. Are you baptized and confirmed and a [16/17] communicant and a soldier and servant in the ranks?

"I love the Church, the holy Church,
The Saviour's spotless bride;
Be mine, O Christ, to live in her,
And when our Lord shall call
To die in her, the spouse of Christ,
The mother of us all!"


“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these."--ST. MATTHEW 25:40.

EVERY day this week we have been singing a favorite hymn of mine, "The Call of Christ." I am sure you have been moved not only by the swinging, marching lilt of the time, but by the words as well:

"Not from far-off country,
Or land across the sea,
Comes with earnest pleading
The call of Christ to me."


"He who is my neighbor,
And needs a cheering word,
In his faintest whisper,
The call of Christ is heard."

And who is my neighbor? they asked our Lord. Let me tell you a story, He replied, and told them the story of the Good Samaritan--of the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves [18/19] who robbed him and wounded him and left him half dead. And the priest came along and went by on the other side (some have remarked that he was probably late for a service and had to hurry on); and a Levite came along and passed by. And then came a despised Samaritan, who had compassion and stopped and tenderly took the poor fellow up and poured in oil and wine and put him on his own little donkey and took him to an inn and provided for him there. He was a neighbor.

1. If Jesus makes one call clear and plain to us, it is the twofold call--"Love God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself." If there be one simple and single heart to our Lord's philosophy of Salvation, it is this smashing attack upon selfishness--"Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it."

If there be one simple and single heart to our Lord's principle of judgment, it is found in the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel:

"When the Son of Man shall come in His [19/20] glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats"--there is the stage set. Now for the division: "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed!" And to those on the left, "Depart, ye cursed!" But now for the principle of discrimination:

"I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred and fed Thee? or thirsty and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

[21] 2. The shortest word in the English language is "I." Yes, and the most mysterious and wonderful. "I am," "I think," "I will," "I love," "I hate." You cannot deny the place of egoism in our life. I agree with the old Edinburgh weaver, "O God, gie us a guid conceit o' oursels" (a prayer which in the race of Scottish people has been abundantly answered). "Be loyal to the royal in thyself," sang Tennyson. "To thine ownself be true, thou canst not then be false to any man," said Shakespeare. But--look out!

Corruptio optimi pessima,--which may be loosely translated, "The worst is the best gone wrong!" Self-respect is one thing, and it is noble. Selfishness is something elsethe deepest depth of hell, self-defiling, selfcondemning, self-destroying.

The wreck of every unhappy marriage is there.

The heart of every envy and jealousy is there.

The corruption of government is there. The rottenness of politics is there. The hell of all our crime is there.

And the heart of all personal salvation is just where Jesus said it was, to take a cross [21/22] and nail self to it and pour out your life in helpfulness to others.

"The vine bleeds wine from every living limb;
Is it the poorer for the wine poured out?
The wanton and the drunkard drink thereof;
Are they the richer for the gift's excess?

"Measure thy life by loss and not by gain,
Not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured out,
For life's strength standeth in love's sacrifice
And he who suffers most has most to giver

In the war I served as a chaplain at the American front. I buried literally more than a thousand men. I saw thousands in agony. They had thrown away their lives for a cause. The touching memory is this. As man after man came back to consciousness after being brought in from a bitter bloody field of action, his wistful eager question was not, "Am I going to lose my arm or leg or an eye?" but it was this, "Chaplain, did we take our objective? Did we hold the line?" The life of the individual was caught up in the larger life of the company of the regiment of the division--the little life of the obscure soldier had expanded to the majestic life of a great people, of a great cause.

3. Well, Jesus calls you out of your little [22/23] petty selfishness to follow Him, to lay down your life with His for the poor and the sick and the unemployed and the prisoner and the stranger and the down and out.

As Bishop of Chicago I am proud of my city, of her parks and her buildings, her art and her music, her libraries and her schools, her universities, of her indomitable spirit that fights on against corruption in government and crime begotten of poverty and of ignorance and of cupidity and of selfishness, but I think I am proudest and happiest when I see the work of Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, believer and unbeliever, for the care of the sick and the poor and the needy, for then I see the call of Christ being answered: and I reach out and grasp the hand of every man and woman of whatever creed who is interpreting the spirit of Jesus Christ by pouring out his life in service to others. The other day I had to cut our budget for missionary work in the Diocese of Chicago. Sixteen thousand dollars had to be lopped off. It hurt me, for a thousand dollars of it had to come off Chase House, our west side settlement, and eight hundred dollars had to come off our Church [23/24] Mission of Help, and one thousand off our Vacation Bible Schools. And I hope someone will come forward and put those moneys back--but, thank God, we didn't cut our staff of five priests and five deaconesses working in twenty-one institutions, in the County Hospital and the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium, and in Dunning, and in the Home for Incurables, and in the Home for Crippled Children, and in the Home for the Friendless. And we did not cut our small appropriation for the Cathedral Shelter where last month more than twelve thousand men were fed and more than two thousand were lodged, and whence our faithful priests set out for their work in bridewell and jail.

I see Jesus at the altar; I see Him and meet Him in the Blessed Sacrament; I see Him and meet Him in private devotions: but I see Him, oh, so vividly, in the wistful faces of these sick and poor and ragged and forlorn brothers who look up asking for the gift of one all-comprehensive blessing, the warmth of human love.

Last week I was confirming in one of our blessed homes--Saint Mary's Home for Children: such beautiful little girls, happy, [24/25] well fed, well trained by our Sisters of St. Mary. And I asked how they were getting along financially. The Mother took me next door and showed me a little thrift shop which provides a good deal of income. And there I saw warm suits of clothes and overcoats, and women's garments all donated and all to be sold for the benefit of Christ's little children. And do you know what came into my mind? A mosaic in St. Mark's, Venice, portraying the entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It is seven hundred years old and very quaint. And in the road in front of Christ are strewn not palms but garments. St. Mark you may remember tells us that "many spread their garments in the way." I think the artist thought palms were but a gesture--but garments represented sacrifice. "I will not give unto the Lord that which costs me nothing!"

And if I have spoken of Chicago, I do not mean to be narrow. Our love for Christ's sake goes out to China, Japan, and Liberia, and India, and wherever there is need. God so loved the world--the whole world. There are no foreign missions, for [25/26] no life is foreign to the love of God and the call of Christ for His dear brothers and sisters comes to us from every quarter of the spinning world.

Take that Capital "I" then, and draw through it the great horizontal sweeping cancelling line of love. What have you got then? The Cross. And that cross, made of selfishness cancelled by love, is the sign of our salvation.


"Do this in remembrance of Me." --ST. LUKE 22: 19.

LAST summer I saw the Passion Play at Oberammergau, a sincere and dignified and moving dramatic portrayal of the events of this Holy Week. And without question the most touching scene in the whole drama, which lasted from morning to night, was the scene in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday night. Never as long as I live shall I forget the gracious majesty of the Christus as He rose from supper and taking a towel and basin went in the silence from one to the other of the apostles bending down and washing their feet. "Lord," said Peter, as He came to him, "Thou shalt never wash my feet!" "If I wash thee not thou hast no part with Me." "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" And Judas was [27/28] there--yes, he had his feet washed too, for love reaches out to traitors as to true and burns and sears when the will is turned against love.

And then came the solemn institution of the Last Supper, that holy and awful and mysterious feast where the Bread that cometh down from heaven is given to the hungry and the wine that flows from the divine vine is poured into the branches--“This do in remembrance of Me!" In remembrance of Me. Pyramids crumble: monuments decay: books fall to dust: bronze tablets disappear: the generations come and go, the years are as a passing sigh--a garment fretted by a moth--but we shall never forget.

"I will remember all Thy love divine
O meet Thou with us where we now are met
And may our love, O God, lay hold on Thine
And ne'er forget."

I. That Upper Room is the mother of all church buildings. There are many upper rooms in the world famous for the dear ghosts of the past who once walked there and talked there and whose voices still linger within the precincts, whose memory abides [28/29] like some precious though softly vanishing fragrance. Such a chamber is that one in Westminster Abbey where godly and learned men met in the Jerusalem Chamber fashioning into exquisite English the King James' Version of the Bible. There is a little upper room I know in the Tower of London wherein abides the memory of Lady Jane Grey with her pathetic "0 Lord, in Thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded I" And I often think of the little upper room over a gate long ago obliterated where a heart-broken King David sobbed out "Absalom, my son, my son, would God I had died for thee, O Absalom my son!" and yet my mind goes questing ever to this Upper Room: and I lift my eyes and there it is in every church lifted up above the nave, above the choir, with the altar in the midst. And there I see a figure standing whose face I cannot see, but he wears the sacred vestments which speak of the high priest, and presently I hear a human voice speaking the same great words: "This is My Body which is given for you. This cup is the new covenant in My Blood which is shed for you!"

"The Master is come and He calleth for [29/30] thee." Come, "as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till He come."

2. This is not the place to plunge deeply into the mystery of the central and solemn Christian rite. One of the saddest chapters in history is filled with the bitter controversies that have raged over the interpretation of these solemn words of Christ--"This is My Body." "This is My Blood." There are those who can see in them only a daring metaphor, a noble figure of speech. There have been those who like the people of Capernaum put upon them a carnal and fleshly interpretation as if by magic a revolting change had turned the table into a shambles. Neither of these positions is that of our Church, nor of any part of the historic Catholic Church. There is not an instructed Catholic, whether Roman, Oriental, or Anglican, who doesn't know that what the Christian Church has held throughout the ages is something quite different from either of these positions. "The Supper of the Lorde and the Holy Communion commonly called the Masse" (so our first English Prayer Book styles the service) offers us no mere symbol, no mere dramatic [30/31] recital of a past event, but a sacrament, an "outward visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace--given unto us." "What is the outward part or sign?" says our Catechism. "Bread and Wine." "What is the inward part or thing signified?" "The Body and Blood of Christ which are spiritually taken and received by the faithful." "What are the benefits whereof we are partakers thereby?" "The strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the Body and Blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the Bread and Wine." This, my friends, is Catholic doctrine. And I think I should he fair enough to say that Roman Catholics, like all other true Catholics, specifically reject all gross and carnal theories of the Mass and believe as we believe that our Lord gives us spiritual food, not carnal food, and that His presence upon the altars of Christendom is after the manner of a spiritual not of a carnal presence.

3. But the point I want especially to make is this--that Jesus calls you not merely to give Him your allegiance, not merely to share in the fellowship of His Church, not merely to believe in Him or to serve Him, or to [31/32] worship Him, but--I hesitate only for emphasis--to become one with Him in this sacrament of unity. Let Him speak for Himself--

"I am the living Bread that came down from heaven, if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." The Jews therefore strove among themselves saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood path eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me, and I in Him." "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" So spoke many of His disciples. But in the Upper Room surely He made it clear. We know now where to go and how to share in that divine life which came down from heaven.

Do you go regularly to your communion? No--I am not worthy. Of course you're not. [32/33] No one is. My Master dines with publicans and sinners. But let me ask you this--Are you sorry for your sins and do you propose to lead a new life and have you faith in God's mercy, and are you in charity with all men? If you are not, for God's sake put your house in order, confess your sins, resolve to lead a new life, forgive your enemies, and then, away to your communion. Do not wait to be a saint. Peter made his communion and he was full of pride: Thomas made his, and he was full of fears: Philip made his, and he was full of questions: Jude made his, and he was narrow-minded.

There is something I want you never to forget--that if you turn to the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection you will be astonished to find again and again that He was known to the disciples "in the breaking of the bread." It was so at Emmaus; it was so in the Upper Room the night of Easter Day; it was so on the shore of Galilee, and it is still so!

Just before Alan Seeger died in France he wrote a poem--

"I have a rendez-vous with death
At some disputed barricade."

[34] I have dared to change that verse into one which I call a "Rendez-vous with Life." I give it to you in the hope that someone here today who has been careless or neglectful of his communion will hear the call of Christ to unity with Him and through Him with all Christian people, with all the living and all the dead in "that great sacrament of unity."

I have a rendez-vous with Life
Within the Blessed Sacrament,
When over me the priest is bent,
And Jesus comes, exceeding fair;
I have a rendez-vous with Life,
For He has promised to be there.

I know I am not worthy thus
To take His life mysterious,
My sins are higher than a hill,
His love is deeper than the sea,
And so in my communion still I find
His mercy healeth me;
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendez-vous!


"Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it."--ST. LUKE 9:24.

I HAVE just made the sign of the Cross. It is the highest symbol of my faith. It is woven into the vestments of the Church, embroidered in the linens of the Holy Table, lifted high upon the altar, carried in procession before our choirs, mounted upon the steeples of our churches, signed upon our foreheads in baptism, traced upon our foreheads again in confirmation, carved upon the headstones over our graves. And that is not all. It is the center of all our preaching, the richest note in our hymnology, the most piercing and the profoundest note in our theology; and our holiest rite is the reenactment of Calvary when we offer unto God upon our altars the "perpetual memory [35/36] of that His precious death and sacrifice," and kneel to receive "the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee" and "the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which was shed for thee." The acid test of my discipleship is right here at the cross.

"When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride."

"God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!" "To the Jews it is a stumbling block, and to the Greeks, foolishness, but to those who believe both Jews and Greeks, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God!"

"In the cross of Christ I glory
Towering o'er the wrecks of time,
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime."

I. Up there on the hill on that spring morning a young man was stretched out upon a cross. He was weak from a long fast, from the wrestling in the garden, the trials before Annas and Caiaphas, the hustling to and fro to Pilate, to Herod and back to Pilate, the flogging, the tugging along with [36/37] the cross on His back, aye, and the tugging away at His heart-strings when He saw His mother and the other weeping daughters of Jerusalem. And now amidst laughter and jeers they have Him on His back, and the nails go into those hands so often laid on the sick for healing, on the sinful for forgiveness, on the little children for blessing. Up with Him now! Ye little know that if He be lifted up He will draw all men unto Him! Up with Him! And as Pindar said, "The final trial is the test of mortals." Up with Him! The body strains to the hoisting, and when the post sinks with a thud to its place, the nerves leap and the sweat leaps--and His voice speaks. The thieves are writhing and cursing. And He is speaking. We shall never forget it. The world will never forget it. Time shall not blot out those words forever--"Father forgive them, they know not what they do!" The Great High Priest goes up to the altar of His own sacrifice with words of divine intercessions on His lips! And all those hours which I shall not rehearse--through the darkness, through the agony, He is thinking of others, of His fellow-sufferers the thieves, of His mother [37/38] and His friend St. John, of His Kingdom and its finished plan, of His Father into whose hands like a little child He commends His spirit!

"Socrates died like a philosopher, but Jesus Christ like a God!"

I have seen the crucifixion scene at Oberammergau. It left me cold. The Christus was bathed in light. His body was beautiful and fair. I missed the great note of awful grandeur with which my own imagination has always pictured that scene, when out of a body covered with dirt and blood, with face draggled with spittle and sweat, the triumphant spirit of the highest and noblest of our race showed us once and for all the high cost of uttermost love and revealed once and for all the capacity of God to enter into our suffering.

But once I saw Rann Kennedy's Terrible Meek. And when the crucifixion scene came, it came in darkness. When the last moment came and with a shout He gave up the ghost, there was silence, silence broken only by the pitiful sound of a mother weeping. And suddenly was heard the rough voice of the Roman centurion--

[39] "I tell you woman, this dead son of yours, disfigured, shamed, spat upon, has built a Kingdom this day that shall never die. Something has happened here to shake all our kingdoms of blood and fire to the dust!"

I believe that. But just what did happen then?

2. For centuries men have tried to explain theologically what happened there. They have strained their eyes in the darkness striving to pierce the mystery! They have stretched their minds to the breaking point to work out a satisfactory theory of the atonement. And some of their theories seem to us grotesque and hideous. Here is one which held the field for a thousand years--that the death of Jesus Christ was a ransom paid by God to the Devil for man's liberation from sin. And then God outwitted the Devil by raising Christ from the dead!

Here is another--that God's honor had to be vindicated and so Jesus became our substitute as an atonement for sin and, if we just accept His substitution, we, in spite of our sins, go scot free.

Here is another--that Jesus died to impress man with the character of sin and [39/40] its disruptive effect on the moral universe.

And here is Abelard whose theory was in brief that the crucifixion was necessary to exhibit God's love and thus to move men's hearts.

Well, all of them have touches of deep and real insight into the mystery, but there is one thing the matter with them all--they all seem to suggest that God is a cruel and implacable Being who had to see blood to be satisfied and who could never be fully satisfied till He had the blood of His own Son. Do you wonder that a little girl who had heard echoes of these theories said:

"I love Jesus--but I hate God!"

The approach to an understanding of the cross is not in argument, is not in theorizing --it is in an attitude. To understand art, one must have the soul of an artist; to understand music, one must have music in his soul. To understand the cross, one must know the meaning of love.

In the last analysis it was not the Roman powers which crucified Christ. And it was not the hatred of Jewish leaders hounding the Romans on. It was the passion of a great love in the heart of Jesus which brought Him [40/41] to the cross. The other day I heard of a little boy whose sister was dying. They needed a blood transfusion. They tested her brother's blood and found it just right. And they asked the little fellow if he would give his blood. Of course he would. They prepared him. Just as the doctor was ready, the little fellow turned deathly pale. "What's the matter, buddy?" said the doctor. "When will I die?" said the boy. "Die!" said the doctor. "Did you think this would kill you?" "Sure," said the boy. "And yet you were willing to give your blood for your sister?" "Sure!" I wonder what his sister thought when she heard that. What happens to any of you if one loves you enough to sufferyes, to die for you? It does something to you, doesn't it? Well, I see in Jesus, my Master, not only the bravest and the holiest and the cleanest and the wisest of men, but the most loving, and that is at the heart of my devotion to Him. Even the communists feel that.

"Let no local Him refuse,
Comrade Jesus hath paid His dues;
Whatever other be debarred,
Comrade Jesus has His red card!"

[42] 3. Now move forward a step. Suppose Jesus is God, as I believe He is, in human life! Ah, think of that! Everywhere is suffering, agony, pain. Does God care? If He doesn't, if He is above it all--then

"Talk not to me of Thy salvation,
I will but curse at Thee--I for one
Spit on Thy bliss and snatch at Thy damnation
Scorn and abhor the shining of Thy sun!"

The cross at Calvary is the answer. God who cannot suffer, suffers. God who is above pain, feels pain. God who knows no sin, feels the horror of it and its penalties. God shares with us not only temptation, hunger, thirst, denial, loneliness, but physical suffering, agony, even death, and all for His great love wherewith He loved us.

Put the cross into your life! Take that soft, sensual, indulgent, worldly self and hale it to crucifixion. Put the cross into your self-discipline. Put the cross into your giving. Put the cross into your business. No cross, no crown! No Good Friday in your life, no Easter.

Holy Week draws to an end. He was crucified, dead, and buried. But that is not the end of the story. When Waterloo was [42/43] fought, they had no radios, but by bonfires they flashed the news from one end of England to the other. And men's hearts sank as the words came through: "Wellington defeated!" So the disciples despaired. "Jesus conquered!" But that wasn't the whole message. Finish it! Finish it! "Wellington defeated the enemy!" Come finish the story of Jesus Christ--"Jesus conquered death!" And so we go bearing the cross of Good Friday to wrap it round with the lilies of Easter Day. The Master is come and calleth thee to the cross. In the garden that same Mary whom He called at Bethany will meet the risen Lord and hear Him still calling "Mary," to which she responds, as we respond, "My Master!"

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