During the first Acts 8 gathering at General Convention, I expressed my dream for a church that wasn’t ashamed to proclaim Jesus. The problem with dreams, of course, is that reality is much harder to live in. Since my return to parish life, I’ve given a lot of thought to how we “proclaim Jesus” on a regular and ongoing basis.
I found this Sunday’s lectionary to be particularly helpful, and I reflected on it in my personal blog this morning. Here’s an excerpt:
“Standing in the midst of Philip’s Caesartown, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter wastes no time. He is prepared to give an account of the hope that is in him. He is ready, willing and able to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah, even if he hasn’t a lick of a clue what that really means. Peter is not ashamed to proclaim Jesus.
Of course, proclaiming Jesus in word is one thing. The rest of Sunday’s story is about how that word become action – how we move from students to followers – and it involves nothing less than denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus. It means losing our lives for the sake of the Gospel. It means giving up our luxuries so that everyone might come within the reach of Christ’s saving embrace. It means personal morality with corporate consequences.
It also means, and here’s the kicker for Acts 8, corporate morality with personal consequences. What does it mean for The Episcopal Church to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah? How do we act in light of that good news? How do we structure ourselves? Govern ourselves? Budget ourselves? How do we communicate? How do we share? How do we grow?”
I know, I know. Still more questions than answers. At the heart of the matter is that first, we believe Jesus is Lord. What comes next, well that’ll take some work, some study, and some prayer.