It's Sunday, 11:45am. I have already been to church and had lunch. I think I love this church I'm attending a little more each week. There is such a feeling of wonder and awe retained in Anglican liturgy, well actually, I should rephrase, the wonder and awe are a gift of the Spirit but are beautifully expressed through the litururgy. I grow to appreciate each part of it more the more I participate in it. I love confessing our sins together, I love the desiples creed, I love passing the peace, though it was pretty awkward at first, I'm even growing to love the "Halelujia" chorus that we sing as the gospel passage is brought forward to read.
I began to pray a few months ago that the Lord would teach me to love the Church deeply. That prayer was sparked by a conversation I had with my dear friend J. I have found the Lord answering that prayer in mutliple ways. One way has been the gift of loving the Church body that I am a part of at any given time. Another is in a growing sense of urgency for the unification and colaboration of the global church. It is vitally important that we do not see the Churches in the Southern or Eastern hemispheres simply as a "mission field," though missions work is beautiful and good. But we must also see the perspective and wisdom they can share with us, even as we go out to teach and share with them.
We can only view the world, and therefore scripture, through the lenses of our own cultural context. Thus, we can only interpret in light of our cultural values and preconceptions. But as a united Church, not only geographically but historically as well, in all our diversity of thought, tradition, and worldview, we fill up the fullness of the gospel, even as Christ in his incomprehensible depth and complexity filled it up in his single person. Christ who is above and and in all compells us to love each other that we may share in his gifts together. Not only his gifts to the people in our time and place, but the gifts he has given to people of past times and other places. All of this is ours in Christ. It can only be claimed in unity.
This excites me. If you ask me for a detailed description of what I mean I might not be able to answer you. If you ask me to express how I practically wish the church to live out this unity I might not know quite what to say. I know it involves discourse, humility, and streaching of our comfort zones but it is ultimately the Lord's perogative to draw us together. But I know that this is the Lord's heart and I praise him that he is impresing on me a heart that longs to embrace it as well.
The Lord answers prayers. If you want to love ask for love, ask for it in specific situations, ask for it in broad situations, and praise the Lord when he answers!
Praise to you Lord Christ.