Recently, I was invited to preach at Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church, an open and affirming church up in Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, when my husband got ill and needed to be hospitalized, I had to cancel my trip to Madrona at the last minute. In anticipation of my time at Madrona Grace, I had prepared a sermon and I want to share it with you here as the second part in a series of posts on the Biblical roots of why I stay in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
In my introductory video, I mentioned that even though my views have often not prevailed through the years, I have stayed in my church home, committed to one Lord, one faith, one baptism. During this Eastertide, I want to share with you more of my thoughts on this, particularly, what I see as the biblical basis for us all to work together to be One in Christ.
I have read, reflected and prayed over Scripture most every day of my adult life. This commitment, woven together with the experiences of my life’s journey – such as marriage, motherhood and my Christian education and service – has moved me closer to knowing God. And yet, as a Presbyterian, I know that I alone could never fully discern God’s mind or will.
I believe that one way Christ as our unity becomes real in this world is through our service to the needy. It’s something I’ve heard often from our young people in the church, with their passionate desire for us all to move beyond our disagreements and simply get to work helping others.
In October, the Nominating Committee of Pittsburgh Presbytery placed my name in nomination for teaching elder commissioner to the 220th General Assembly of the PCUSA that will convene here in Pittsburgh at the end of June 2012.
Recently I was asked a thought-provoking question, “How can someone who is set in their convictions build a bridge with those they disagree with?” This question is an important one to dwell on. As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) enters 2012, we watch as the threat of schism jeopardizes our unity as a community of faith, together, proclaiming the Gospel.
Next week, the Fellowship of Presbyterians will once again gather – this time in Orlando, Florida. According to the Presbyterian Outlook, one big area of discussion will be two documents that were drafted since their last convening; one on theology and one on polity. I offer three thoughts to consider and invite further comments from all my theological friends.
One of the things I love best about Christmas is the singing of the beautiful hymns and carols through which we all proclaim the story of Emmanuel — God with us in the baby Jesus born in Bethlehem.
I have never considered leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I know many have. I respect that choice though it makes me terribly sad. I understand the view that the unity Jesus is speaking of here is on a higher plane or in a spiritual dimension. I get that people can only stand so much.
How we see God at work in this may vary but we can pause for a moment on the blessed common ground of acknowledging God at work in the church and the world in this vote. We can join together in keeping our eyes on God’s presence and inspiration and move ahead.