Sunday, October 31, 2010

Setting Us Free

"The inherited churchly institutions in the United States are typically engaged in inducing people to join, support and attend church ... in order to worship the church, not to glorify and enjoy God, and in order to enhance some churchly cult, not to esteem and enact the Gospel.  The sanction for this appeal is a venerable one - the sale of indulgences.  (People) are persuaded that by serving the church, by spending time and money and talent on the church, they can accomplish and exchange for merit and gain a justified status with God.  Yet secreted in the idolatry of church is the same futile worship of the power of death inherent in any idolatrous relationship. And from that, even when it is shrouded in the trappings of church, has Christ set (us) free." -- William Stringfellow, Imposters of God
A colleague of mine recently wrote a very interesting blog post referencing the above book. As someone who is Priest-in-Charge of a church in what I have often referred to as "the rebuilding phase" of its life, the above is pretty convicting--too often the church can become an end in and of itself rather than a means to the end of proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed. Though we have already set out our mission and vision at St. Edward's, the challenging part remains--discerning how God is calling us to live out, or incarnate, that mission and vision.  This morning I talked about the "the hope to which he has called [us]" (Eph 1:18b) to which St. Paul refers. That hope is the hope of All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day, that even death has been overcome to such an extent that we can make fun of it by dressing up as ghosts and goblins!

So where do we go with that hope? What do we do with it? How do we communicate it? And who will go with us? Stay tuned....

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