Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Working Out Salvation

Dinner in the backyard beneath the redwood tree. Good food – and drink – and conversation. The whole family's together. Now, sitting on the deck reading Zen and the Birds of Appetite by Thomas Merton. My daughter lights up Vivaldi on her stereo and the sounds leak into the yard. The weather is perfect. The sun is setting. The landscape is quiet. These are moments of grace and mercy.

I’m thinking about the end of the ethics series, and contemplating what it has done to me. I began knowing that these things needed addressing. I finished knowing that talking about them isn’t enough. By the end, the daily juxtaposition of news and Bible study was undoing me. My heart was heavy enough that I would come to tears, whether watching the news or reading the Bible. Our world is so broken, the needs so vast, our own hearts so divided. We are in need of transformation, in need of a faith that moves out beyond the arguments about election and free will, and into the streets with the good news that Jesus life and death changed everything. But it is folly to declare that good news with words alone, just as it is, I believe, follow to declare it with actions alone. To the extent that Christ’s Lordship is real in our lives, His reign will be real; not only in our hearts but in the whole of our lives – and in our life together as a community.

When I think about what movements have best embodied this holistic vision for salvation, the Celtic Christians of the 3rd through 6th centuries surely come to mind first. Having little room for a firm wall of division between matter and spirit, sacred and secular, they had eyes to see Christ’s glory, and His heart, for all of life. That’s why I’m part of the fellowship of St. Aidan. Seeking to practice the habits of heart that lead to transformation, the values of this group has become an important part of my attempt to ‘work out my salvation’.

As I move into the fall, I'm praying for our community - praying that we will become increasingly open to the revolutionary life to which Christ calls us, willing to walk towards the cross so that we might, in our experience, know the mercy, hope, joy, generosity, and healing power that is His resurrection life.


At 10/8/05 12:15, Blogger JessicaMichael said...

Thank you Richard, for sharing your heart. Your blogs have blessed me richly and spurred me on in Faith. They are the beginning of a challenge and the next step is really to see how I will live differently, so that my heart is to let Christ live freely in my life both in conviction and action.
I hope that you know, that your role in this Great Story, is vital. Thank you, for your willingness to be transformed and to let us know what that truly looks like in lives that desire Christ, but in a flesh that often wants to stay the same.

At 10/8/05 15:48, Blogger Nova said...

richard, you speak to something that haunts me everyday, which are the disconcerting tensions and "paradoxes" of our faith. we are called to be, and yet to do. we are to wait, and yet to act. we are to accept, and yet to exhort. we are, and we are yet to be. thank you for not sugar-coating these tensions/paradoxes, but showing this is both the joy and agony of our faith. no cookie-cutter answers from a God that cannot be contained.

At 11/8/05 22:21, Blogger JET said...

My friend told me to read your blog. I like it.


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