May 27, 2015
According to a May 12, 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, the Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing. (http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/)
I thought it would be helpful to address this issue of what we are choosing to see — a dying church or the living Christ. I think this is a timely topic, especially since last Sunday was celebrated as the birth of the Christian Church in many denominations (Pentecost Sunday), and the week after next is our own Mother Church’s Annual Meeting (June 8th).
As many of you are aware, we have been holding our Wednesday and Sunday services outside since the end of April with a few exceptions. We have been very creative with our live music — a saxophone offertory one week, and a casio keyboard most other weeks. And Justin’s solos on the guitar have been perfect for our current intimate informal setting. I am very grateful that we have had visitors at every Sunday service — even from England.
Last week a visitor from Houston (who attended 4th Church regularly when he lived in New Orleans) commented, “This must have been what it was like when Jesus was speaking outside.” I was very grateful for that comment because he expressed appreciation for the living Christ — the unadorned attraction of the eternal Word — invisible to the senses. How interesting that Mrs. Eddy’s first paragraph about Church in the Glossary was also purely spiritual.
The purpose of these readings is to reflect on the purpose and mission of the church of Christ during these times of social change, competing activities, and new technologies. I’ve also included a link to the “Circle of Faith Blog” from The Mother Church Committee on Ecumenical Affairs.
Also, the term “son of man” appears in several places in our readings, and I like the explanation of this term given in Hoyt’s Studies in the Apocalypse of John of Patmos (p. 122):
Jesus thinks of himself directly as the Son of Man, living and moving in heaven, completeness. This should remove all doubt from an impartial reader that the preexistence of the Christ was his preexistence as the Son of Man. That the real man existed from eternity in God is the truth that he grasped, and to which he gave concrete intellectual form.
On Sunday, Justin’s solo was “More than Bones,” which of course made me think of the valley of bones in Ezekiel. Justin writes and performs these solos for us, and he also records them so that you can listen on your own. Here is the link to Sunday’s solo:
Comment from a reader – What an excellent theme! Thanks!
Comment from another reader – Your church and the people have contributed so much to my life.