Procession with Music and dancing, St Maurice, Switzerland, Uganda Martyrs pilgrimage. Today is their feast.
from a homily of Bishop Erik Vardy for Pentecost 2023.
The Church is a mixed-voice choir. What shows Christ present in her is the miracle that all these voices are tuned to symphony.
There is a variety of gifts, but one Spirit; all sorts of service, but one Lord; different manifestations of power, but one good purpose. Unity is, in the Church, a criterion of authenticity. When the Church is truly herself, a single sublime Keynote resounds through all her different voices. Jan van Ruusbroec liked to speak of Christ as the Church’s Cantor. We can, I think, go further and say that he is the Keynote. He, the Word by whom all things were made, is the unifying principle of the universe. Likewise he is, at the level of the Church, the foundion of all harmony. To be a Christian is to grow towards perfect pitch …
To speak about communion is easy and pleasant. To live out communion, to deliver oneself to it, is very demanding. To live as a member of Christ’s Body is to breathe the Spirit of Jesus, who emptied himself unto death, giving his life for his friends. We talk a lot about synodality these days. It is an excellent term, but we need to understand it correctly. The Tower of Babel was preeminently a synodal undertaking, though self-destructive, which is why the Lord undermined it. To be on the road together is a fine thing, but what really matters is where one is bound and whose lead one follows. Anyone who claims to be a bearer of the Spirit, and thus to abide in Christ, ‘must walk just as he walked’ (1 John 2.6). Else he or she is a fraud.
Any new melody must harmonise with the Keynote that is from everlasting, otherwise it is but a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13.1). Today the Lord gives us his Spirit by which he would renew the face of the earth.
May we, then, be renewed as human beings and become true Christians, messengers of Christ’s hope to the world. And may our devout, noble undertaking find credible expression in our lives. Amen.