The Strangeness of Church

Last Sunday we celebrated Jesus’ ascension into heaven.  It’s a typically Lukan scene of strangeness, a man being carried up into the sky until he disappears into the clouds.  Things get weirder this week.  It’s Pentecost.

You’re probably familiar with the story.  Jesus’ followers are hanging out, trying to figure out their next move when, suddenly, a wind starts blowing from inside the house.  Little flames jump around and light on their heads.  They speak in languages they have never known.  Everyone is astonished.

Maybe we’re too familiar with the story.  Maybe we dismiss it because we see it as “mere” myth.  Taken as literal-factual truth, it defies understanding just as it did for the people in Jerusalem.  But imagine it as a summer blockbuster in the hands of Peter Jackson and it becomes something else.  Movies have become the mythos of our culture.  It’s why we quote movie scenes to one another in routine conversation.  They become the language and imagery of our lives.  They say something about who we imagine ourselves to be.  Luke and Acts were for the Early Church that defining mythos.  They tell the Church who it hopes to be.

In that strange and fantastic moment, the Church was born.  Yet, we have lost that sense of strangeness.  Church is, for many, for all of us at some point, an abstraction, a habit, a duty, a chore, a culture.  Too often, for too many, it is the defender of the norm.  It is rarely a radically transformational moment of magic and mystery.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Church in the Cliff, as we discuss the strangeness of the Church, what we’ve lost and what we might regain if we acknowledge the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives.  Be forewarned: there might be preaching.

Grace & Peace,

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