Diana Butler Bass, in her most recent book “Christianity after Religion: the End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening” is only one of many church leaders, theologians, social scientists and religious commentators over the past decades who’ve been articulating and provided data for the “seismic” shifts in mainstream religion since the 1970s. As members of St. Matthews, we need to appreciate that religious culture in society today isn’t as it used to be prior to the 1970s, and that the Church changes along with changes in society as it has been doing since its birth two thousand years ago.
For the sake of enabling the ministry of Jesus to continue in relevant and fresh new ways, for the sake of others and growing spiritually and more authentically as a community of faith, we need to follow where God’s Spirit leads. This takes courage, and risk, and most importantly, trust in God who holds us no matter what, and who promises to continue enlivening and enabling the Church of Christ to continue into the future. So no matter what we do, or don’t do, the Church will continue somehow and somewhere. The question is, do we join God in God’s ongoing activity and presence in the world around us?
In an article written to the “Canada Lutheran” magazine last summer (Vol.26,No.6,p.31), Bishop Michael Pryse of the Eastern Synod – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada relates what someone once suggested to him: “Life is not just a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!’ That’s the kind of spirit,” concludes Bishop Pryse, “I’d like to see more of in our churches.”
“Wow, what a ride!”
Would that we be able to say that about our mission and ministry as a church? “Wow, what a ride!”
Isn’t that the kind of courageous, fearless – and ultimately joyful – attitude implicit in Christ’s desire for us to go, to risk, to serve in the world, confident that Christ walks with us, and God’s Spirit holds us, no matter what.
Blessings & Peace,