Anyone following the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s activities lately know he has doubled down on the call for the Episcopal Church to be an active participant in the Jesus Movement. A video on this web site, from the Annual Convention, will offer a glimpse of that double down.
But for those of us in the pews, the pews of Christ Church, what exactly does he mean? What is he really calling us to?
Those who know me know I can’t answer this question theologically. I have no theological background, no training that would allow me to provide an analysis of what he means. Heck I can’t even spell exegesis (guess I just did thanks to Brother Google).
Yet that doesn’t scare me because I don’t believe that’s what the Presiding Bishop is looking for anyway. What he is calling us to is what Christ Church is all about: asking the question ‘ just what does this Jesus of Nazareth expect of me as an individual and us as a church and how do I live into that?’ No more, no less. Bishop Curry just wants us to be an active participant asking ‘what is the Jesus Way here, today, in this place? What does the Jesus Way require of us in this time of terrible uncertainty.’ He believes if we just ask these questions participation in the Movement will be a given and the answer to the questions will be simple. Love more.
In a message a few weeks back I tried to describe what it means to me to be part of the Jesus Way or Movement: I said one can boil down Jesus’ message in two simple words: love more. Love more. And I said a Movement is an organic thing, a constantly changing thing that has an individual constant: love more.
But I also said that we must remember a Movement is more than a group of churches or people. A Movement is far more powerful than just a gathering or even a philosophy. Movements are born to change the world. And a Movement is made up of people that want to change the world. Changing the world, today, at least and maybe for all time, only happens when more people love. At least change for the good that is. I think our friend Michael Curry is saying to us you can join the Movement but if you do be ready to help us change the world through love.
Our little parish, which is made up of Episcopalians, former Catholics and Baptists and ‘none of the above’s’, has people who support gun rights sitting next to people that marched against guns a few months ago. We have people who defend a woman’s right to abortion sitting across the aisle from people who oppose abortion. And it still works. Why? Because no matter our individual views on these issues, we are unified in our understanding that the Jesus Way is about love and that his command we are to love one another is the one that really matters. In short, we give each other the benefit of the doubt that no matter ones view on some of these issues we come together to learn how to love and put that love into action.
Our Presiding Bishop is stirring it up, thanks be to God. And we are too by accepting any and everyone, by loving those in our community and outside our community, by serving him by serving each other, by making all welcome, Episcopalian and non Episcopalian alike.
I begin each service by standing in front of the church and saying ‘Welcome home! If you are a lifelong Episcopalian, welcome home. If you have been an Episcopalian for an hour and a half welcome home. If you aren’t an Episcopalian and just saw the pretty red doors and thought this would be a good place to worship today, welcome home. ‘
Then I continue the welcome by saying ‘here at Christ Church we don’t care who you love, as long as you love. We don’t care who you vote for, as long as you love. We don’t care where you are in your spiritual journey as long as you love. If you love, you will be comfortable here so welcome home.’
Perhaps it is time I add one more ‘we don’t care’ to this welcome: maybe I should add ‘we don’t care who you are. If you want to be part of the Jesus Movement to help us change the world through love-welcome home.’
Kurt+ Lay Pastoral Leader