So, this week I've been considering some of the big questions.
The sermon series I'm currently in and wrapping up this week is The End of the Story. This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday in the church year and the day in which we commemorate that God's kingdom has not come in its fullness (next week with Advent One, we begin anticipating again). Thus, I was working on the grand themes of Christ's reign and the hope that calls us to continue to endeavour to do the things that bring about that reign (the Gospel passage is the judgement of the sheep and the goats -- "If you've done it unto the least of these, you've done it unto me.")
Then, there is this guy that I went out with a couple of times, and we've had these fascinating conversations about church. He grew up in a conservative church and was active in a liberal church in his early twenties. Now he wonders about the church's relevance. Much of what it deals with and agonizes over is ridiculous. It has done as much harm as good. Most churches don't live anything like the Gospel. Most of the stories are fictitious. All the benefits -- community, something to drive you to be a better person, learning positive values, etc., can be achieved in other places.
I can pretty much agree with most of what he says, yet we've taken different paths, both genuine. So, why do I continue to:
** struggle with issues like church budgets that have next to nothing to do with what's really important in the Gospel
** battle abuses and injustices within denominational systems
** try to teach people using these ancient stories
Needless to say, I'm in an intellectual and creative ferment. Many of my answers, even in my own internal dialogue, don't sound as convincing as usual. Do I simply do this because this is what I do, have always done, and can't really think of anything else I want to do? Surely there is more to it than that.
So, this week's sermon will attempt to answer some of these questions. While we're waiting, what's your take?