Father Michael Harper Foundation
Some quotations from Fr. Michael:
• Meekness is often mistaken today for weakness. It is nothing of the kind. Rather the word
implies ‘power under control’, hence its link with faith and self-control. Here again we see it as a
bridge word, linking the dynamic of faith with the ‘static’ of self- control. Faith in action will be
controlled through gentleness or meekness.
• I do not believe culture or ethnicity should ever divide Christians but if we are to have a
Christian influence on our countrymen, the language in our services has to be English.
• When Charles Wesley wrote the famous hymn ‘Love divine’, he found it natural in the next
line to describe that love as the ’joy of heaven’. Love and joy seem to belong together. It is difficult
to think of a joyless love or a loveless joy. Besides, joy is a fruit of love as much as it is of the Holy
Spirit. Love brings joy into the world, just as hatred brings sadness… True joy does not depend on
human adulation or acceptance… It is part of the work of the Holy Spirit to demolish the citadel of
the ego-mind. When that happens we are free to see and to love the Lord Himself. Then our joy will
be spontaneous and stable, whatever our circumstances.
• ‘…and the greatest of these is …’ (1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13.)
Christian love has never, strictly speaking, been the subject of dogmatic treatment.
The neglect of this subject may explain why Eros, the Greek word indicating man’s striving upwards
to reach God, has so successfully replaced Agape, indicating God’s coming down to us, ( hence the
term ‘gospel’ meaning good news) as a governing principle of spiritual life. Thus the gospel has
increasingly been stated in terms of Eros, so that some Christians have become rather too absorbed
in individual spirituality at the expense of the corporate, in moral idealism and social action which
are blind to the experience of God Himself. They have thus been deprived of the only source of true
We can sometimes see how this works out in practice by the way the Church has developed its
sacramental life. For example the Eucharist ought to be, in its central aspect, a clear declaration of
Agape, that is, God’s love for us. Instead it has become more and more a celebration of man’s love
for God. So also, in the modern practice of Baptism, particularly with those who emphasise
‘believers’ Baptism’, the service has become increasingly a declaration of a person’s decision to
follow Christ, rather than God’s love in saving him.
Basically our trouble is that we desire power more than we do love. Power- struggles and place-
seeking permeate all institutions, secular and spiritual. But the love of power is incompatible with
the power of love. We have tried to produce love when our destiny is to reflect it. This last has been
described by C.S. Lewis as ‘acquiring a fragrance that is not our own but borrowed,’ and ‘becoming
clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours.’ The face is Christ’s. According to St.
Paul, something happens when we look into that face, - we are changed into His likeness from one
degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.’ (2 Cor.3 v18)
The recovery of that love, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is the only hope for the world and the
greatest task of the Church.
(Adapted from ‘The Love Affair’ See booklist)
Fr Michael Harper Foundation
3 West View, Newnham Croft
Cambridge CB3 9JB, UK
Tel: +44 1223 362933