All things necessary for salvation

May 21, 2006

Original Post Date:  5/21/2006

I have heard once that in a service for ordination a candidate was told by their bishop that when they got to the question on "Do you believe that the Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary for salvation?" question that it was ok to have his fingers crossed behind his back.

I have looked for that question in the liturgy for ordination in anticipation of my own ordination, and interestingly enough, can't find it.  I don't know if it was removed in the 1979 prayer book or if it is just a fun story to tell.

At any rate, I was thinking about asking this hypothetical question of my own bishop when it comes time for my ordination and how I would respond to a hypothetical response of "What does contain all things necessary for salvation then?"

I believe that it may be different for different people.  For me, it is relationship.  Relationship with God through prayer.  Relationship with people through community.  Holy Scripture?  Yes, it is there.  It is there to guide my experience with my relationships.  But it is not in and of itself my salvation.  I knew, before I ever knew much about the Bible, that God was a God of radical love, that God could not be a God of judgement as I had heard in some places, and that God loved me and loved everyone else.  I knew that God would not permit anyone to go to hell.  I didn't need the Bible to tell me that.  I just knew it.  At a very young age.  My rector had a similar experience, so I know I'm not alone here.

It is hard in our society of analysis, thinking, and rationality, to let go and feel.  To intuit those things that first pop into our heads and go with them.  There is a book out called Blink which describes this very thing, so I have read in an article.  I haven't read the book but I have read an article inspired by it which talks about the problems in the business world with the over-allocation of time, and the ensuing lack of creativity.  People are so busy today that they can't hear their own bodies talking– they have trained themselves only to think and process an excess of information coming in, which stifles all the creativity that God gave us.  The article suggested that a simpler life– a life without so much multi-tasking– would actually be more productive economically.

I think it would be more productive spiritually as well.  We so want to read a book and find the answers.  To analyze, re-analyze, and over-analyze.  What about the experience of watching the sunrise, slowly turning the sky into purple, pink, red, and orange?  In that moment, I can't analyze.  I can sit in awe at the love that my creator is so big to put together such an amazing feat in such an amazing world.  It makes me glad to be a part of it.   What about playing with my 4 year old who likes to put a plastic bucket on her head as a hat?  What about seeing the light bulb go off over on employee's head as he gets a new idea and starts to execute it?  The Bible is great.  It gives us advice on how to do these things.  But the experience of doing them is just as exciting to me, just as inspiring, just as filled with salvation as the Word itself.

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