Monday, June 14, 2010

A Good Sermon

I heard a good sermon yesterday. It was on Luke 14: 16-24, the parable of the man who has a feast, and all his friends make excuses not to come so he invites the lame, the poor, and the blind. You know, the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday after Trinity!

Fr. Ed said a couple of things that really spoke to us. The first was "what excuses do you make not to come to the feast?" In other words, what excuses do you make not to come to church so you can partake of Holy Communion? The other thought was a bit tangential from the text, but equally provoking. The statement went something like, if you attend a church, then you should be able to say "I go to this church, and I agree with my church's teachings".

I won't go in to why we left our church back in 2004. But we did, and we did it because we really do believe that second thought. So that's put us in a situation where it's difficult to *find* a church where we can say "I agree with my church's teachings". They're out there, and they're multiplying, but in this Baptist-land they are few and far between. So, as you'll know if you've been following my blog, we've been considering going to a different, nearby local church. We don't agree with everything (for example, we are not five-point Calvinists!) but the fellowship is good, it's a large stable congregation with lots of opportunity for Bible study and small groups. We've been driving over an hour every once in a while to a small Anglican church where we can have communion, because the Nearby Local Church doesn't do that very often.

So Fr Ed's sermon hit us on two fronts. Why are we attending a church where we don't agree with all the "first order" issues, and why are we making excuses to NOT regularly attend a church where we can receive communion *and* have a common theology? On our drive back yesterday from the Hour-Away-Anglican-Church (I've blogged about it before), we talked about the sermon we'd just heard. If you go back to the post I just linked to, you see the excuse - it's so far away! And really, is that any kind of excuse at all?

Now where does that leave us, you ask? We're starting to talk about transferring our membership. The philosopher still wants to visit some other little-over-hour-away churches that we hadn't considered before because they were, well, Too Far Away. But based on several things Fr. Ed said yesterday (and not just in his sermon) I think it likely that this is where we'll end up. And that, yea verily, would be a Good Thing Indeed.

1 comment:

J said...

One of the things I struggle with a bit is the cutting point of those "first order" things compared to other things. In some ways I would like to do a Nicene standard, but that doesn't really help me narrow things down much, and I haven't come to a solid decision as to which items get included into the first or second orders.

The other thing I work with is the difference between what a specific church body teaches/practices/emphasizes vs what the denomination of which they are a part holds/teaches or is associated with.

No solid answers for myself, but I certainly agree with Fr. Ed's second point. (agree with the first point too, but having church only 20 minutes away makes it less of an issue for us)