Posted on in Saints Are Us by The Rev. David Marshall
The Gospel from last Sunday presented a surprising message for us: Jesus tells us he has come to bring fire! We often think of the destructive aspects of fire, yet is a cleansing element that lays the groundwork for new life and growth in nature. The idea of the burning church to give light and witness in the world, is much the same as Fr. David pointed out. Let’s face it, the institutional church was created by humans, and we still continue to do that today, we do that for our own purposes. We give people jobs, position, and a status in society. That is not what the Gospel Life, as taught by Jesus, is about!
Buildings, property and such are instruments to be used to further the Gospel Life; in and of themselves they are just “things”. Then what is the church? Sorry, wrong question! WHO is the Church? It is you, me, the congregation, it is the community of all those who claim to be followers of Jesus–the baptized. Institutional religion and its abuses are the very thugs Jesus worked against and, eventually, that is what murdered him.
We must be on guard against placing the institution above the Gospel Life, on any level, either in the parish, nationally or universally. It is human nature to want to carve out our little piece of life, including the church, but that is not what we are destined for. We are to live active, radical Gospel lives as members of the Community of the Saints. That is our destiny! In your heart and mind, walk away from the traditional concepts of “church”. Listen to the younger people, be open to what they see. Admit, along with the institutional church, the betrayals of the Gospel Life as taught by Jesus. Live in such a way that you are the church on fire for the sake of Jesus.
See you next time.
I am your bro.