I caught a glimpse of gospel renewal the other day.
My Latin pupils from the parish’s homeschooling group were packing up their books. The younger one was taking his time, so his older sister goaded and chided him, with phrases like, “C’mon, slow-poke.”
Nothing out of the ordinary, until she and I were both standing by the door, waiting to go, his backpack still an assorted display of contents strewn on the floor of the parish house, when she finally blurted out in exasperation, “There is no health in you!”
Now, I should point out that we begin every class day (I also am teaching Roman history, Greek, and Bible) with Morning Prayer from the 1662 IE Book of Common Prayer. I don’t do the whole service, but there is always a Confession (which she was quoting) and a psalm from those appointed for the day.
So, when she said, “There is no health in you!” she was simply helping her brother to examine his conscience and to understand his lack of dispatch as yet one more consequence of the Fall. (Older sisters are ordained by a benevolent Providence to help convict younger brothers in just this way.)
I have two points to make about this.
First, the language of the old prayer-book or the King James Bible is not archaic per se. It only becomes archaic when we stop using it. So let’s use it. As Charlotte Mason would say, these are “living books.” Teach your children the “home accent” of their evangelical faith.
Second, it’s been said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” which is true, but then so is the corollary: gospel renewal and cultural recovery are never more than one generation away either.
I’m seeing that in my own ministry, and I encourage you to look for it in yours as well in 2023. Start with the children.
The Rev. Jake Dell is the vicar of St. Peter’s, Lithgow, New York, and a member of the EFAC-USA board.