Monday, January 21, 2013
This Christmas season I read a volume of Christmas Sermons by Augustine. Brother Augustine and I do not see eye to eye on theological matters, Augustine being the Augustinian he was and I being a Wesleyan. Nevertheless, as I approached his writings, I chose not to read it with a critical eye. My desire was for devotional reading which would aid my meditation upon Christ's birth during this Christmas season. His repeated emphasis on numerology and some of his hangups about sexuality are present in the twenty-three sermons. The sermons selected were quite repetitious which at times caused me to take a break from reading them. That is why I have just finished them. My main complaint, though, is with the editor. I'm all for editing sermons for contemporary audiences, but the editor decided to be a comedian when translating these 4th or 5th century sermons, at times, making me very ill. (Not having the book in front of me, I'm not sure exactly when these sermons were preached.) Despite these drawbacks, two things standout. Augustine had a unique ability to put into human language just how hard it is for the human mind to fully comprehend Christ's incarnation. Also, his sermons on the Epiphany reveal why Protestants should not ignore the celebration of it. Before, I had never even given much thought to the celebration. The volume I read can be found at the link above. Next Christmas season I will read Bonhoeffer's Christmas sermons as well as Athanasius' On The Incarnation.