Monday, July 04, 2005

Gathering My Way on Awakening, or not

when will we awake? it seems the church has been asleep for some thousand or two years. when constantine affirmed the faith of following Christ as an acceptable and inclusive institution it marked the beginning of a sleep that has lasted since. rip van winkle would be proud.

John of Gathering My Way begins his stream-of-consciousness this way. He sees a disparity between the institutional Church and the daily life in the Spirit that he beholds in his own family. I'm not sure what he means by "Church"; He could mean the Roman Catholic Church since he brings up Constantine. Still, it's not clear to me. At any rate, here is what he says:
we create worship gatherings that are technologically precise, entertaining and amazing, yet empty of passion and risk and power. its is as if we can not stand the quiet. as if it scares us to be alone with our God in a communal setting, are we scared something might actually happen? are we scared the Spirit may erupt in our controlled powerless lives. we settle for another warm blanket instead of throwing off our slumber for pain. you see for me it hurts to follow our God. it is suppose to, it is hard to give everything you have and are in service of others. it is hard to become invisible so another may live. yet it happens, it happens with a group of young people creating a place for love to happen, they create a forum for the Spirit to work in and through them. it happens in a family that God has grown and blessed in amazing ways. and i see and feel it each time my daughter hugs me. you see it is a miracle that she is with us, a gift from God given to us because we said yes to a request long ago born in our hearts.

John misunderstands. The Church is not asleep. The Church is dead. All of the people of God are dead. We all died at our Baptism. We died to the world of sin and death. We rose, too. We rose to new life in Christ Jesus. Incorporated into his life through our Baptism, we live for him and with him. Thus, we are the people of God, the Church. The Church rises, too.

He describes the characteristics of the ideal Ecclesia Domestica. I'm happy for him. However, what he cherishes would not be possible without his so-called sleeping Church. 2,000 years of preaching, prayer, celebration of Sacraments, service and even martyrdom have brought the Gospel to nearly every corner of the globe. People have encountered the Savior through the Church and share in his life through her mysteries. We are the people of God, the Church, through our Baptism and Confirmation in him. We continue to be Church through our participation in his life through prayer , sacraments and service. His domestic Church reflects the movement of the Spirit revealed by the Faith Christ gave to the world through his church. No sleeping institution brought this about: Only those called by him to die and rise with him have brought this good news.

We die and rise daily in our struggle to follow him. We do this wide awake in the Glory that he has loved us so much that he gave his life as a ransom for ours. He invites us to be with him in a way we can't completely understand this side of heaven. When we say yes in response, we are his. We are his people, God's people. We are the Church he has founded on Peter, the rock. No slumber has brought this forth. Only death, rising and glory. His, and through his life, ours.