Truth and our Faith Tradition
Last week I raised questions that weigh upon us all, especially in regard to our common life, shared as members of Westminster, shared as folks who live and move as members of our community, state, country and world.
What is truth? What do we mean in our faith traditions when we declare there are eternal truths?
What is the purpose and work of the Church? What does it mean to be a Christian?
Why would anybody want to be a Christian, to be a member of a church?
What authority, if any, does the Bible, the Pulpit, Common Worship have
for a culture of narcissism, power, money, greed, and division?
Why am I a Christian? What, if any, is my role in the Church? I am well practiced in being in the role of pastor, but what about on the rolls as a member?
This week I add to this, a statement of Jesus, that comes to us as an affirmed confession of the Church, a statement we affirm posits an eternal truth,
“were two or three are gathered together in my name,
there I am in the midst of them.”
Not long ago, we were perking along, taking necessary steps to call a pastor. Under the guidance of the Pulpit Nominating Committee and with the blessing of the Session, we contracted with Holy Cow! Consultants to take us through the steps of a congregational survey. The results of that survey came to us just about the same time as the first lock down because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This hindered the ways we would have disseminated the results of the survey.
In spite of the limitations put upon us, we were able to glean several important truths about our church and its members; two stand out, we scored low as a congregation placing importance on spiritual vitality and high on conflict.
These truths about our church must be placed under the light of truth in the above statement of Jesus.
It should not be a surprise to anyone who has ever been pushed out of the comfort of a mother’s womb, who has ever had to live with others, who have ever had to go out into the world to play, to go to school, to get a job, to find a spouse, to be a part of the human family, that where two or three are gathered together, there is conflict! That is a reality of all relationships; human and divine. It is also true that when two or three get together, the Universal Christ, is there in our midst. If we seek to discern the Living Presence of Christ, with us, for us, a part of us, we can “learn” as “disciples” to meliorate, fess us to and learn from this universal truth, and with faith, hope and love at work in and through us, allow as the Apostle Paul writes, in sharing with us another “eternal truth”
“suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character,
and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”
This leads me to our second truth we learned about our church, spiritual vitality is a matter of practice, it comes from the ways we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, together with each other and with Christ, among us. This is, righteousness, right-relationships between God, neighbor and self. This is truly the way in which we grow in spiritual vitality, by growing in our work and love together.
Next week we will focus upon sacrificial love and close this exercise with a reflection on humility.This email message complements the themes of our January worship, and the completion of my time as your interim.