Friday, May 31, 2013

The Chruch as a sacred space of transcendence; towards an ideology of grace, and the challenge to follow the path of Jesus Christ


The Church is called to be that sacred space where transcendence becomes the language of the pew and the pulpit, where an ideology of grace overpowers and overcomes the vestiges of hatred.  A space where the Christ is present toward the souls of all people.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
                                                                                                                 Matthew 5:10

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”Jesus said to him, “Today,  salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
                                                                                                                   Luke 19:8-10

 Now I write this post out of a love for my American Church.  Her place in the community, the great work she is called to do for the poor, the weak, the sick and the lame whether they are homeless or rich and powerful.  She must transcend the human condition.  The following words, while they don't completely present my argument in a way that expresses my heartfelt intention,  and I doubt any words could, I am yet drawn to them as I seek to articulate my position, and as such my heart on the matter of my beloved Church.   I proclaim here that the power of the American Church is not in its allegiance to some cultural or social ideological norm or even to some materialism that parades as a blessing of God.  Its allegiance is not to even the powerful or to the weak as it relates to the human condition but its allegiance is and must always be to the one true and supreme God.  In this the Church is the advocate as well as the argument of Christ to a world of polarizations.  In this the Church as the manifestation of Jesus' imagination must at some point live in the Christ reality, taking hold of God's grace and mercy, God's deep abiding love and embrace that emerges from the Holy Spirit.  The power of the American Church rests then in the Holy Spirit as the Church stands as the provocative, the profane even the grotesque on Christ behalf.  It is here where the power of the Church as a manifestation of Jesus Christ must be experienced as no other place.   The Church is called to be, and must be the fearless advocate of Christ and his reality.  Yet there are two things that hinder the power of the American Church.  I write here of two particular concerns, that reflect the path of Jesus.  The first is, suffering for righteousness sake and the second is being the sacrificial church.
      I ask here, "can the church be courageous, can she be the cradle of the Christ reality in the 21st century with these challenges?  As I listened to commencement addresses I listened to the call of mysticism, disruptiveness, to open the doors of the Church to all yet no call to be courageous, no call to live Christ, No call to the Christ reality, to really study Jesus, and to really come to grips, even to come to terms with Jesus and what it actually means to follow the path of Jesus.  I ask, “Does the Church seek to follow the path of Jesus?”  I think a pivotal question emerging from the aforementioned is, "Can she divorce herself from the world and its desires long enough to seek the path of Jesus?"  This has not always been the case as the Church was formally the central sacred space for the care of souls yet today I experience the Church as a vessel which has abdicated her place of care for humanity in American society in favor of government programs and politics.  I guess this posting is a call for the Church to regain her place in society, to be the Christ argument in the town square once again.  To be the Church that suffers for righteousness, to be the sacrificial Church and therefore to be the grace of God for all people.
     The American Church is called to be a cradle of God’s work.  It must be that sacred space for all as it follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Monica Joy