Friday, February 19, 2010

40 Days of....?

After a brief interlude following Epiphany, the church calendar now plunges us into the 40 days of Lent (Sundays don't count--being festival days--so that's why it isn't 40 calendar days). Those 40 days are meant to call to mind the days of our Lord's temptation in the wilderness--and not a peaceful, shady wilderness like I'm used to in Oregon and Northern California, but a desert wilderness. A friend of mine passed the following along. See what you think...

I sometimes think that our world is in a sort of wilderness time. Certainly our church is! There seem to be many, many problems to overcome. Health care reform, poverty, greed, joblessness, etc... At the same time there seem to be so few people, especially in the political arena, with the courage to confront and even begin to address these problems. In the Episcopal Church, we continue to wrestle not only with the obvious issues of sexuality but with what I would consider the more important and more basic issues of meaning and purpose in the 21st century.

We are firmly now in a post-Christendom society, especially here in Silicon Valley. People need a compelling reason to be involved in a church and that involvement means not being involved in the myriad of other possible things available. How do we in the church recapture that core sense of transformational power that is the essence of the Gospel and then translate it into a compelling witness to the world? It is a question that other generations have had to grapple with, but we are at that 500 year point that Phyllis Tickle writes about in The Great Emergence in which everything is pretty much up for grabs. My contention is that it that uneasiness, that dis-ease, which is infecting the church and causing us to be less confident of the Gospel we proclaim, not any issue like sexuality. May this Lent serve to remind our own congregation and the wider church of the power of the Gospel message amidst the temptations of the world.

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