This Sunday’s theme is the Church: its roots in Jesus, its nature as a community of love and inclusion, and its future in today’s world.
It’s not an easy time to be the Church in today’s society. The 1960’s brought a distrust of institutions which has only been exacerbated by subsequent events. Wars have been fought based on faulty premises in Viet Nam and in Iraq. Churches have been exposed for shameful sexual abuse and hypocritical treatment of victims. Some loud voices claiming the name of Christian have espoused hatred, bigotry, violence, and tribalism that fly in the face of Jesus’ actual teaching and way of life.
No, it’s not an easy time to be the church. But that’s been true at many points in history, not just our own. The call to follow Christ, to be a part of “the Jesus Movement,” has never been for the faint-hearted. It’s demanding, it can be difficult, even painful to stand up for the values of Jesus.
St. Paul described the church not in institutional terms, but in organic terms: as a Body, a living organism. We are all members of this body, individual cells who find our purpose and lifeblood in the whole. And this body has a mighty purpose, to be the Body of Christ on earth… here in our corner of Bethesda, Maryland. Like human bodies, this Body can love and comfort, feed and clothe, listen, rejoice, and speak out against injustice.
The institutional trappings of the Church have changed through the ages, but this organic community has always been the core and substance of Christ’s Church. JBM