Sunday, October 7, 2007

You have seen

Discussion 1: A Time for Reflection

“You have seen…” ~ Exodus 19:4a

We got off to a good start this morning. I was amazed to learn so much about St. John's.

I was particularly struck by the memory that in the 1960's, St. John's was one of the first churches in the Atlanta area to become a racially integrated congregation. While many of our members today may be unaware of this history, the actions of 40 years ago continue to shape who we are.

We have long embraced a vision of an inclusive Gospel, that Christ's table is wide and welcomes all. Though we may have national visibility as a congregations that welcomes the LGBT community, we are about much more than that. Even this year, we are returning to the task of breaking down racial boundaries. We still have a dream of being a racially integrated congregation.

Inclusiveness and welcoming runs much deeper than concern for social justice. It is expressed in all the ways we open ourselves to each other and to the community. We are willing to be vulnerable and to take risks as we reach out. The gospel is proclaimed in simple gestures such as knitting a prayer shall for a family in grief or just being friendly to visitors after church.

A gospel of vulnerability walks the way of healing. Accepting each other in our own weakness opens to wholeness. Ultimately wholeness is wrapped up in finding ourselves restored to loving community, knowing that we lovable as we are. In welcoming each other, we welcome the presence of Christ among us, and we make ourselves vulnerable to hearing the Gospel anew and willing to follow the Holy Spirit.

These are some of the themes that stand out for me. What comes to mind for you. Please leave a comment to post your stories and thoughts.

Blessings in Christ, James

1 comment:

Laura Crawley said...

I've been musing about our Sunday discussion. I especially enjoyed hearing how more recent members experienced St. John's when they first began to visit. I've been at St. John's for several years now, which probably makes it hard for me to experience the church in a new way. Hearing how others experience it helps me to see our community in a new light.

Congregational theology--the idea of it, at least--fascinates me, because it seems so communal. I'll confess to a certain closed-mindedness: I don't understand how people can practice Christianity outside of a community of faith. I have several friends who are Christian, but they don't belong to a church, because they dislike organized religion. I can understand that--there's a lot to dislike! But I don't undersatnd how it's possible to actually practice Christianity outside of a community to support, encourage, and challenge you.

Congregational theology seems to capture that. I like the idea of a collectively created theology that arises from a community of faith. It makes sense to me to see myself as part of that work.