Friday, December 7, 2007

Ambrose of Milan

Today we get to celebrate the life of Ambrose of Milan, who died on this date in 373 A.D. Ambrose was doing just fine, thank us all very much. He had a life as governor in Upper Italy. He had not been baptized, although he had been brought up as a Christian. He only went to Milan that day to mediate between the factions who each wanted to elect their own person as bishop.

There is an apocryphal story that says as Ambrose entered the town square, a dove landed on his shoulder. Be that as it may, both sides in the argument began to shout, "Ambrose shall be our bishop!" But wait - wasn't there one minor detail of getting him baptized first, and how about ordination as deacon and priest before he could be ordained bishop?

Once that was all settled, Ambrose took his job of bishop very seriously and became a "statesman of the church." His ministry included eloquent writing and speaking, which attracted Augustine of Hippo to Christianity. This was reminiscent of St. Andrew bringing his brother Peter to Jesus. Peter seemed to get all the attention after that, just as Augustine overshadows Ambrose.

A meditation attributed to Ambrose includes: "Lord Jesus Christ, you are for me medicine when I am sick; you are my strength when I need help; you are life itself when I fear death; you are the way when I long for heaven; you are light when all is dark; you are my food when I need nourishment." He also wrote hymns which we still sing, which I will save for another time.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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