(In The Life Of The Church)
The Church Together
If you remember back to my first week back from sabbatical I preached on my own experiences and how I felt like God had delivered me from, among other things, cynicism. I'm still working on that and finding life in the process.
As a discipline in the process I've made a commitment to be more ecumenical than I probably have been in the past. There are plenty of other churches in Waco that I admire and have been in fellowship with, but I've kept my distance from others.
There is a group of interdenominational pastors/priests/rectors in Waco that meet once a month. I've gotten the invitation for about a year now and have not gone. But lo, with a renewed commitment I accepted the first one that came my way this fall. Our lunch was held in the Baylor Club at the new stadium and was hosted by Drayton McLain. There were other important speakers there like Judge Starr and few other fancy people that I can't recall. As it became apparent that the guest list was full Baylor Celebrities I became intensely curious. Why were we gathered in this state of the art facility, with this amazing meal, with these important people and about 100 local pastors?
As the story unfolded it became apparent that we had gathered to listen to an idea be pitched. A few folks in Waco, mostly important people, wanted to fill up the stadium for a Palm Sunday evening service. Moments before this I was marveling at how great it was 100 pastors had gotten together to hang out and now we were talking about filling up a stadium. My heart sank. Cynicism crept back in. I listened closely and fought the instinct to ask the question, "Why are we doing this?"
Let me explain. There are a lot of great reasons to get together to worship God. Images of McLain stadium filled with worshipers reminds me of Revelation 4 and 5. But I also think the desire to fill up a stadium stands on a razors edge, constantly in danger of falling into idolatry. Said differently I think we could tell ourselves all kinds of stories that seem like they are about God's glory, but are really about our own ambitions.
That meeting was about month ago and Wednesday I went to my second. There were only 12 of us and so I found the courage to raise some of my concerns. The conversation that followed was very meaningful and my concerns were assuaged as I listened to my brothers share their passions about seeing what God could do through the unity of pastors in Waco.
About six years ago, not long after I started pastoring, I read a lengthy article by N.T. Wright on the book of Romans. In it, Wright argued that the point of the letter isn't actually all the weighty theology that's found in chapters 1-8. Nor is the point the sometimes controversial material found in 9-11. Wright thinks that the point of the letter is the particular issues that the church is dealing with in 12-16. It is first and foremost a letter about ecclesiology. About unity. All of chapters 1-11 lay the ground work in service to 12-16. This was new to me and quite astonishing. In all that I had hear about Romans growing up, and that was a lot, almost none of it came from those chapters at the end.
After I considered Wright's proposal in Romans, I began noticing how pervasive this concern is not just in this letter, but in all of Paul's letters. Paul is deeply concerned about the unity of the church and sometimes fiercely so. That was a sobering discovery for me. How serious must God take this issue?
I was reminded of this thought from Paul at our meeting on Wednesday. This particular gathering was hosted by Aaron Zimmerman who is the rector at St. Alban's. After our "business" meeting we gathered in the St. Alban's sanctuary. There we were, probably the most unlikely choir in Waco. A few Baptists, an Episcopalian, a Catholic Priest, and a few non-denominational pastors. Aaron led us in a time of worship. We sang hymns, read scripture, and confessed belief. And I couldn't help but feel that God was pleased.
Meet Our Newest addition to the HR team
Vocation: (could be your job or something you love doing/believe you were made for): Teaching (though for now my profession is being taught how to teach)
favorite movie: The Fountain
best restaurant in Waco: Torchy’s Tacos
Bible verse/chapter/book that has been meaningful for you: Isaiah 43:2
best television show: Breaking Bad
favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
something you might not know about me: I once played the ‘Rock-n-Roll’ but have now lost my touch.
Made in Waco
Made In Waco is FINALLY here! Join us Tomorrow from 10:00-3:00 to help support local artisans and pick up a few gifts for your friends, family and YOURSELF! And DON'T WORRY! We STILL have ways that you can help us out!
If you were wondering what to do with yourself from 11:30-1:30 or 1:30-3:30 tomorrow, I have a great idea! Come help us out in our concession stand and in many other ways at Made In Waco! I think it's perfect! I knew you'd agree! Thanks in advance for emailing Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org and signing up immediately!
If all of this cold weather has gotten you in the mood to cook, but you're worried about packing on the pounds before the Holidays, have I got a deal for you! Last year, UBC's baked goods were a HUGE hit in our concession stand and we hope to have a repeat performance this year! So, you can bake like crazy and bring ALL of it up to UBC before 10:00 on Saturday! Please put one serving of your delicious treat in a baggy so it will be ready to FLY off the shelves!
And, of course, COME to Made In Waco on November 15th from 10:00-3:00 at UBC! It's will be one of the best decisions you've made...possibly ever.
nUBC’ers Cookout - Friday (11/21) 6pm
Work is Worship 11-11-14
Mug Cleaners: Jacob & Byron
Coffee Makers: Kayla & Michael
Greeters: Tessa & Leigh
Shutdown Team: Blue Flames Announcements:
- Sermon Text: Matthew 5:33-37
- Advent Workshop will be November 30th after church. More info to come.
- Study Hall - December 9/10: You need to study, and UBC is the best place. It is that simple. UBC will be open 10am-midnight both days, and pancakes will be served at 10pm on the 10th.
- CCMSTCCE (Caesar Chavez Middle School Teacher Christmas Card Encouragement). Be on the lookout November 30th and December 7th for more information in the foyer.
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