The Unfinished Church
I have been thinking about how Holy Week is about community, the community both gathered and dispersed, faithful and fearful, harmful and healing. Although we want to build healthy communities, it is as important to know the reality of community, and techniques to deal with community problems. The ideal community has processes for forgiveness and support, for challenging without excluding, and so on. People often leave church because it doesn’t live up to its stated ideals. How could it? We are human, struggling to learn and grow, but incomplete. That is the point about Jesus as our model, a yearning to become aligned with holiness.
Life is about error and risk taking as well as success and fear. Church, at its best, needs to be the place where we can be honest about our doubts and fears and failings and expect some help and support. Church can be the model community when honesty is valued over defensive righteousness, and hope over certainty. We are the people of the cross, caught at the crossroads of competing values, facts, pain and contradiction. To walk away from the cross means to walk away from resurrection, from hope. To walk onto the centre of the cross is to place ourselves with the wounded Christ of all times and places, to endure the silence of not knowing, not surety, only yearning.
The present challenges of the church are not to be deplored with longing for a more secure time. They are to be embraced, albeit with anxiety and hesitation. It is after all Christ who leads on the path to resurrection, a new life that we cannot yet see for the blinding sun behind the cross. Will it hurt? Yes. Will we wonder if we are doing the right things? Yes. Will god give us answers? No. Will there be a new day and a new incarnation for us? That is the promise, so let’s wait, open and vulnerable, and see what happens to these bones.
on April 1, 2015