Year B Proper 16 John 6 2012
There was once a term frequently used in the church. In the old days it was used often. You rarely ever hear it today. Indeed, in all my years in the ministry I have never preached a sermon on the topic until now. Despite the infrequency with which it is mentioned, the concept, I think, is still valid. It is backsliding.
The term backsliding, I discovered in my research, was popularized in the 1600's by John Bunyan in his very famous allegory Pilgrim's Progress. In the story, you may recall, the character of Christian and Hopeful are on their religious pilgrimage. While on the journey they begin to discuss an individual by the name of Temporary. He had started the pilgrimage, but along the way he fell by the wayside, or, as Bunyan worded it, backslid. That term was picked up, particularly, but not exclusively by the Methodists in early America and became a stock phrase. It referred to those once faithful individuals who had lost interest in their Christian pilgrimage...
It's Humble or the Umbles
You know you've crossed into some new station in your life when you visit the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and realize as you are leaving that you completely skipped all the paintings. That's right, the entire Renaissance wing just was not on the agenda. Suddenly it hits you: You are no longer a student, or a tourist, or an art lover. No, you are a parent of small, squirming children who need to see something big, and strong, and hard-hitting.
So your museum tour was through the pyramids. Your museum circuit consisted of huge tombs and temples, the mummies and the caskets of ancient Egypt. But perhaps most importantly, you meandered through the mists of the medieval ages. This means rooms and rooms of ancient, awful-looking weaponry, and the Met's huge collection of all types of “awesome” armor. There are over 15,000 pieces of ancient armor and weapons in the Metropolitan's collection—dating from 400 BCE, through the heavily weighted years of medieval Europe, and including a huge collection of Japanese implements and armories, from the fifth through the nineteenth centuries.
As you wander around the Museum complete coats of heavy iron armor stand at attention all over the place...