Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dear Bishops and Deputies: Your story is incomplete without God's story

I am glad that The Episcopal Church at least acknowledges the need to talk to other people about what makes us tick. The State of the Church research, which is in the hands of all Bishops and Deputies, shows that very few of our congregations even think about sharing a message with those outside the church, and that we've so confused our people that they are not even sure if the church has a coherent message.

But I would encourage those who want to "share stories" as followers of Jesus pay attention to this Sunday's Epistle (Revised Common Lectionary). It is not an easy read, but it has some clarity that "our story" must really be about God's story:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...

(God) chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world...

(God) destined us for adoption as his children...

(God) has made known to us the mystery of his will...

I know that an opinion was floated, suggesting that statements confessing Christ are "heresy," but still give an honest listen to this Epistle, which all the clergy have vowed to uphold as part of "The Word of God, containing all things necessary to salvation."

In (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.

In (Christ) you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.

I am sure there are many interesting life stories among the Bishops and Deputies. But, really, when all is said and done, most people outside of the church have circles of interesting friends with interesting stories to tell.

If we want to add value to others' lives, isn't the best story we share the one about why God matters in our lives? And if we don't have that story, then why all the robes, titles, rituals, fancy buildings, money and such? Or have those become the props in a melodrama because we don't have the true story to tell?

Please, listen to that lesson... and if it isn't being read at Convention, open the Bible for yourself.

1 comment:

Danny Dolan said...

This is my story, and this is my song:

Praising my Savior all the day long.

Oops, there's that word "my", implying an individual salvation. Guess that means I'm guilty of that great "Western heresy".