I must confess that when I think of Trinity during this time of the year, with time drawing down to make our annual budget, with dinners, auctions and directories demanding more organizational skills than pastoral, with stewardship drives, Diocesan convention and planning for 2016, I can get trapped in seeing the church as a business, an institution. Of course this is true to a point and all these tasks are important. The fact that we are a religious institution doesn’t define who we are. Rather we are defined by what set of values we place on our relationships with each other. The corporate model might suggest that we come to church, pay our dues and then expect a product: good worship, sermon, music, education for our children as well as sprinkler services (water at baptisms, rice at weddings and dirt at burials). Though many take this model seriously it is simply bad theology and supports actions mostly geared towards maintaining the institution.
On the other hand since God’s gift of salvation is a free gift already given, investing our money, our work, our resources in an institution to, crassly say, buy a piece of heaven, doesn’t make sense. Jesus was not against the practice of religion or the temple. In truth he kept directing folks back to the temple to offer thanks, to learn, to be in the presence of God. He offered us in light of God’s love and salvation the freedom to come together not with a heavy burden of a price to pay but with the uplifting vision and intimacy of God found when we come together and look into each other’s heart. Our coming together is not contractual therefore but a free covenant with God and each other.
We join a church community so that in each other’s presence we may reaffirm our vision of God, to be nurtured by that vision and hope, continually convicted by God’s Spirit working in others and their reflecting God’s presence within us back to us.
Yes we must deal with the details of living together but our story, our purpose is to glorify God, by sharing how we see God in each other and just as important, how the community sees God in us.
What’s your story? What do you see? Let’s tell stories about God’s presence working in each other. And in the boldness of the Spirit let us share what we see with those whom we see it. This is teaching and this is community.
God’s Peace – David+