Cross posted from St. Francis Church.
Last Sunday I preached the first in a planned series of sermons that will focus upon various aspects of the Church. I plan to focus on one detail of what it means to be the community known as the Body of Christ each week until we reach Advent. In the midst of this time we will have much to reflect upon and give thanks for. This Sunday as the Bishop visits we will see several of our members either confirmed or recieved. In a few weeks on All Saint’s Sunday we will be blessed with a double Baptism as Levi and Luke Waites are made one with Christ through water and the Holy Spirit. These are all exciting things, but they all raise questions about the nature of the Church and exactly who it is we are supposed to be as Christians.
These questions are only magnified by the current state of American Christianity. It is easy at the moment to get bogged down in the conflicts wracking the Episcopal Church, but we are not the only denomination experiencing conflict. Our sister church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has recently entered the same arena of conflict as the Episcopal Church in the area of human sexuality. Indeed, our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church are probably not far behind. After a convention which saw alternative names given to the Trinity, The Presbyterian Church, USA has begun to splinter with congregations leaving to join other Presbyterian bodies.
But such conflict isn’t limited to the old-line “liberal” denominations. Conservative Christian churches such as the Presbyterian Church in America and the Southern Baptist Convention have also endured doctrinal conflict and splits, and the troubles of the Roman Catholic Church often mirror our own even as their hierarchy takes a firmer stand. And of course, many of their dioceses are still reeling from the after-shocks of the sex abuse scandal.