March the 21st will be the second of our Lenten installments—a forum in which we continue to reflect about the nature of the church. The forum will meet in the Commons Room from 7 PM and will conclude by 8 PM.
Although this will be a continuation of the discussion that sprang from the previous forum, all are welcome whether or not they had been able to attend the earlier forum. If you missed the first forum, you will gain useful insights and your participation will be welcome at this second installment.
New information will be presented: we will begin with an exploration of three images used to describe the church in the New Testament: the church as the New Israel, the church as the Body of Christ, and the church as the bride of Christ. How do these metaphors help to understand the mission of the church for our time and our place? What do you perceive ought to be the relationship of the church and culture? As they used to say in the ‘60’s what about the message of the church is relevant for the times and the places in which we live? Finally we will give some consideration of the ways in which we react to the observation of the late Dutch theologian Edward Schillebeeckx whose vision of the church in our time is that the church is the sacrament of the encounter with the risen Christ.
Why are we doing this at this time? Well, in life the pendulum always swings, and where it has been lately has been on the focus of the church as an agency of social change, advocacy, and social work—all of which are important features of the mission and the ministry of the church. And it has been a good thing that those have been defining parts of the raison d’être of the church for these have delivered the church from living only in a maintenance and survivalist mentality. But it is good to realize that there is much more to the mission and calling of the church than these things—our Lord, after all, did not live and die to found an institution given to social work—but he entrusted us with the message of hope and the gift of salvation.