A Message from Fr. Mike
Why belong to a Christian Community? That's a question I struggled with as I was growing up... when I was Jewish... when pretty much all I knew about Christianity came from the mouths of people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson... and the message was pretty much "my way or the highway."
And it's a question many people struggle with these days when they see "the church" stuck in conversations about women's ordination, human sexuality, and issues related to biblical authority... and not as engaged as it could be in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and helping to make sure that everyone has enough... prophetic injunctions about justice and compassion.
So how do we make sense of all of it in a pluralistic society... when our neighbors may be Jewish or Muslim or Bahai, or agnostic?
When Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori was elected and consecrated, she said that "Jesus is our doorway to God... and for us humans to think that God can't act in any other way is for us to put God in a very small box." Truth is, God is contained by no box. And while we may invite others into conversation (in the way God invites us into relationship) about how the Christian message has had meaning for us on our journey, we also respect the limits of the Great Commission when we respect the religious and spiritual choices made by others.
In my conversion, I was able to let go of the experienced "weight of the world on my shoulders," and turn over to God what was too much for me to handle... and I was able to take on the experience that God loved me just the way I was... that didn't mean I didn't need to or want to grow... but that I didn't have to get to some point "out there," forever ahead of myself... before God would love me. That God loved me now and fully and without reservation. Just as the voice from heaven at Jesus' baptism said "this is my son, in whom I am well pleased." Just as God says this to every... single... one of us.
There is mystery in creation. Ancient mystery. We find it in the great rites of the church, but we also find mystery in the commonplace. In crocuses popping up through the snow... in physical healing when none was believed possible... in mended relationships... in selflessness and caring... this persistence towards life is woven within the fabric of creation. But God's revelation continues... and quantum physics affirms this mystery too... in the way it affirms the inextricable inter-connection of all creation... in the way one subatomic particle can physically be in two places at the same time... in the way that time and space are non-linear and curved, and echo Paul's already / not yet.
One thing that the story about Adam and Eve tells us, is that we know ourselves and each other, better, in relationship. We know ourselves more deeply in contrast to "the other." So those of us who are engaged in Christian Community know ourselves better and grow with others who walk the walk we walk. It's a joyful adventure towards wholeness and unity with the One who loved us first.