Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


An excerpt from a letter to Archbishop Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape town by the Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola:

"Unfaithfulness to Scripture is a more major life and death issue because it is spiritual. What shall it profit a man to feed well and live long here on earth only to lose his soul in hell? What then is the Church here for?


"There is still room for repentance."

For those who may not be aware, the Archbishop of South Africa is a liberal of strong revisionist- heretical!- views (though not quite to the line his fellows in America have reached, but almost), which is quite an anomaly among African Anglicans as a whole. The Archbishop of Nigeria is, as you might gather, quite the opposite. He has proven to be quite outspoken in his defense of orthodoxy.


Some Fragments of Free Verse

O on this laid-low, so low bed
(Will we rise from here?)
In this slow-slumber
Slow, how slow, in this slade of death
O this wearied land of waking

Good Lord have mercy
O Lord have mercy

Lord O Lord open Thou our lips
For we stand here sleeping
We stand here weeping
We stand here singing
Lord open Thou our lips!
Sweet so sweet, so dear
O! Let us wake

Good Lord have mercy

Intoning voices these, have seen
Have seen
Sin, sadness, toil
Have tholed
Sin, sadness, toil
Have brought these things
These intoning voices have seen
(O is there a balm?)

We weep with those who weep
We sing with those who sing
We sing and weep

And here, see: His eyes
Have flown with tears
His lips have flowered song
His hands have broken death
O! Here is our balm

Good Lord have mercy
O Lord have mercy


Life in the Midst of Death

I have seen these things in a shaft of sunlight

Death was all about, echoing from the walls: it was difficult to avoid, no matter how hard I tried. In these sorts of places dying is expected; if not completely accepted, as far as it is possible for men to do so- death passes through and leaves an empty bed, cold, barren, forgotten. Her face, so worn and wearied by many years, looked up from the steel-framed bed, the walls staring dimly down, sterile, cold, and dark. Apertures of hospitals whirred and blinked overhead, mechanical and staid. The dying of the human body was vivid: but not an irreversible death.

Out of the picture of sterility and death the image of life and light arose, strangely mingled together with death- but promising triumph. She smiled- up out of the wrinkled sheets, the wrinkled skin ravaged by the entropy of a sin-wearied world. She glowed, with love and faith flowing forth like some miraculous ether, over the worn-out form of her body, spilling over into the room. I beheld a vibrantly living saint of God, living because Someone shared in the condition of that hospital bed, of that human forsakenness, of the awful human state of death: He shared in it, and He utterly overcame it. He spilled righteousness over into sin, life over into death, and He conquered. Now I watched as she conquered over death, infused with the life of Life Himself. St. Athanasius said in De Incarnatione that proof of Christ’s victory was all around, if one would only have the eyes to look. He thought especially of the martyrs and confessors from the recent persecutions; I am certain that such evidence rests to-day, not only in martyrs and confessors, but also in those who show forth the victory of Christ in other ways, in convalescent beds and missions in the slums.

She spoke to us a brief while. I do not recall what precisely she said: but I do strongly recall the sense of love: not the empty, lust-ridden stuff of the world, but the love pouring down from God, and raising up frail humans into itself. She did not complain, even in the awful ache of a decaying body, in suffering; I thought bitterly afterward of all my senseless complaints, despite all my worldly comforts. She said few words, but far better words than I muster over the great part of my day. We prayed together, her and the others with me. I began with thanksgiving, which seemed exuberantly natural and easy all on a sudden: as it should be at all times, but our eyes are murky, and our voices stilted and halting. She joined in at the end of my prayer, praying in the manner of one speaking to a Friend.

In the very midst of all her frailty, in the middle of her silent suffering, in the midst of threatening death, faithful love shone forth, a paradox visible to the eyes. I do not know how these things can be; I do not know how God could become man, how the Comforter could suffer, the Life die. I do not fully perceive how He binds up the broken, heals those 'sick unto death.' I do not see the Holy Spirit dwelling in the shattered human body, but I do know that He makes His temple glorious in His own manner, far more glorious than we could ever imagine. I know and I do not know how the Lord of glory embraced a cross and overcame death and brought us life. I have seen these things in dancing patches of light in the gloom. I have gently gripped the hand of one shining in Christ, one awaiting her redemption. I have peered into the Light in the midst of a dark nursing-home room.

Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.


Dying and Rising

St. Basil the Great on the ending of the old life and the beginning of the new in Christ:

How then are we made in the likeness of His death? In that we were buried with Him by baptism. What then is the manner of the burial? And what is the advantage resulting from the imitation? First of all, it is necessary that the continuity of the old life be cut. And this is impossible less a man be born again, according to the Lord's word; for the regeneration, as indeed the name shews, is a beginning of a second life. So before beginning the second, it is necessary to put an end to the first. For just as in the case of runners who turn and take the second course, a kind of halt and pause intervenes between the movements in the opposite direction, so also inmaking a change in lives it seemed necessary for death to come as mediator between the two, ending all that goes before, and beginning all that comes after.

(On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 15)

Out of Hibernation

Manalive has awakened from its slumber: a rather long slumber, judging from the date of the last post. But no more. Manalive is resurrected.