Bishop Duleep de Chickera, of Colombo, Sri Lanka, preached on Sunday at Canterbury. I preached in Lewes, Delaware. It appears we took mostly the same text and thought similar thoughts. I didn't chant a Buddhist chant at the end, he did. It would appear that the good Bishop had less forgiving members of his congregation.
There has been a mighty roar of aghast protest about the Bishop using a Buddhist chant in some quarters. The most priceless frump is a quote attributed to Bishop Robert Duncan by the Guardian "To have a Buddhist chant at an Anglican sermon does not reflect the God we believe in."
I am interested that no one seems to have translated the chant. I would be most interested if a Buddhist chant mentions God at all. And surely there are Jewish chants that might not make the charts as really really fine Anglican sentiments about reflecting the God we believe in. (I am thinking of dashing the children's heads against the wall.)
Perhaps it is the fact that it is a Buddhist chant that is the trouble, no matter its meaning, source or even purpose in the sermon.
But of course none of that makes the press, and no one seems to have bothered to ask just what the Bishop was saying.
And of course no one bothered to ask Bishop Duncan if he had any sense of what the Preacher was chanting.
The text of the sermon has been published and can be read HERE. (Thanks to Thinking Anglicans again and again.)
There is no chant mentioned in the text. It was, it appears a liturgical or improvisational add on.
If looking for things to be mad about in sermons was the order of the day, I cannot imagine preaching. Preachers do what they can, hearers do what they can, God is never far away and who knows if a particular Buddhist chant reflects the God we believe in.