The shape of church

I think every church building should be constructed in the shape of a cross. The old Medieval  cathedrals got it correct. When the Church – which is its people – gather we are reminded that we are one body on a cross, the first century’s most fearful instrument of torture and execution, served up in this case by the Empire that was in Rome. (Make no mistake: Every age has its empire.) 

I’m careful here not to use the word punishment. We are one body on a cross, not because of anything belonging to guilt or shame or because we’ve done so much wrong that we deserve to be punished. We are one body on the cross because we bear the sufferings of loving the world in precisely the way Jesus did. That’s what they mean, I now realize, when they call the crucifixion the Great Humility. We serve the world as one body and like Jesus we serve ultimately in ways for which we will be executed, in most cases for us here in the US not literally, but certainly in just about every other way. 

Time in Easter

‪Get more people longer to look into a clear night sky, gaze upon the stars, the world would be a better place, and we who live in it too.‬ Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed.

Everyone belongs

To be a servant of God, your spirit must be noble and unfettered. You will need to have a very large vision of God’s kingdom, one in which everyone and every living thing belongs. Division, disunity, and judgment have harmed God’s cause again and again. If you want to serve Jesus, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, you must understand that the world belongs to God, and that God does not want to relinquish any part of it. You must see that Christ lays claim on everyone – whether high or low, good or bad. Everything that lives belongs to God. And this truth should be not only in our heads but in our blood and in every breath. As a servant of Jesus Christ, do not give up on anyone – even the worst among us. We have to believe, for ourselves and for others, that we all belong to God. I may be stupid and clumsy – I may even commit grave sin – but my true self, which is created in God’s image, belongs to God. Neither sin nor death can change this fact.

Thinking toward the end of Lent

I’m having this thought right now:
I’m starting to tell people that I pastor a church that allows me to be Open and to go and to grow to any of the places God wants to take me. I’m very careful with that; because it’s actually very rare and very fragile. That’s an important way I think about these people I pastor.
And new people join us every day, and new ones leave every day. We think of ourselves (and I’m trying this on for myself) as just kind of touching people with the Spirit for however long they’re with us. Or maybe it’s that we are touching them in the Spirit that is everywhere present and to be experienced. That wherever they go and land in their lives, they remember this place as a safe place to be, where they experienced the gospel. And then in that memory, rejoice and celebrate that it was a place where the kingdom of God showed up, where the will of God happened on earth as it is in heaven.
I think that’s the beginning of a vision of the Church that we with many others can bring to the Table, the One Big Table, The Table of our Lord Jesus, who is the Christ.

Try this on for Lent

Try this on and see if it fits: I think that the dominant narrative of this country is crumbling and disappearing, and there are people doing everything to hang on to it, including killing (and “killing”) one another. I think Jesus offers an alternative narrative, a way of being in the world that’s good news.

That begins with conversion, repentance, and then baptism into to the death and resurrection of Jesus, a baptism which thereafter becomes a pattern for being in the world.

That’s big, good news.

The Lenten cry is answered

Just now, a moment ago now, I could not recall the date. I knew we were all in the Month of March and that it was toward the end of the month, somewhere in there; but I could not recall the actual date.

And then Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and also in me.”