The long long road home

Most of us have come to MCC from other traditions, each one of which has a different take on the Gospel message. Not only that, but each tradition has a different framework in which the Gospel message is set. Most of us accepted that the framework we were given was the framework. Invariably everything fit together rather well.

And then we decided that one part of the framework was incorrect. Invariably for us it was the teachings on sexuality or gender expression. It’s always personal, even it it’s not our own sexuality or gender variance that is in question, and often we come to the conclusion that the church has it wrong. We come to believe that being LGB or T is an integral and planned part of God’s diverse creation.

For some that’s the end of it. The rest of the churches’ teachings stand, just this one area is in error.

For others of us the admission that the church has this wrong is the crack in the dam holding back the torrent. “Now I understand that the church has this teaching wrong, what else does it have wrong?”

“If God made some humans LGB or T, to live as LGB or T people, then what about everything else the church teaches? Did Jesus die for my sins? Who, or what, is God? Where does the church fit into real life – if it even does?” The teachings of the church we grew up in often seem to fit together like a jigsaw, when we take one piece out it’s understandable that we might feel that the whole picture is in question.

It can feel like drowning. It can be the worst thing to happen to you. Or it can be the best. Either Christ remains in our head as part of a construct that we struggle to hold together, or he moves to our heart where we find a new and incredible freedom in his presence. And when that happens Church ceases to become a place of indoctrination and becomes the mystical body of Christ that is more than the sum of its parts. Church becomes the place where we discover the reality of our interrelatedness and the presence of God found in community. It ceases to be that place where we are assured of our place between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘sinner’ and ‘saint’. Instead it becomes a place where we gather to experience the mystery and radical love of God. It becomes the place where we share our personal stories of redemption, of how the ‘Good news of the Kingdom’ has liberated us, how (and from what) Jesus ‘saved’ us, and how together we can experience Christ and allow him to change the world through us.

Remember the rock, the sure foundation? That’s Jesus. Remember the storm that blew down the house built on sand? You experienced that if you realised that you couldn’t rely on the teachings of the church. It all came tumbling down. Now whether you decide to build on ‘the rock’ or ‘the sand’ is up to you. Just remember, the rock is in your heart and the sand is in your head.

In the beginning we so want to go back to our head. Seriously. The framework was comforting, we trusted it. There were even times when we foolishly let it govern the affairs of the heart. It’s so much more difficult to trust God. We want the security of believing that we’re ‘in’ and not ‘out’, ‘right’ and not ‘wrong’, ‘saved’ and not ‘lost’. Problem is – the radical inclusivity of God is not something you can quantify, you can only experience it.

‘Church’ ceases to be certainty and becomes the flow of life. Living waters. What it is to explore the mystery in a community. Not with the hope of understanding it, but in the hope of experiencing and sharing in it! When two or more are gathered together in my name……is not contingent, it’s a gift.

Please don’t come to church hoping to learn something, come to church hoping to experiencesomething! At The Village MCC we begin to understand that we are each an integral part of something bigger than ourselves, and that only God has the whole picture. In our connectedness we let go of our preconceptions and allow the flow of the Holy Spirit to carry us. Love doesn’t make sense, but it makes a difference like nothing else can.

Be blessed.
Rev. Michael

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