We are in the midst of another round Episcopal 101 classes at St. Mary’s. These sessions are offered periodically for parish members and friends of the parish so that they can learn more about the Episcopal Church as well as reflect a bit on their own lives of faith. Through the process, participants often come to know each other a bit better and learn a good deal behind the history, worship, and beliefs of our Episcopal way of ‘being church’.
There are so many aspects of our Anglican/Episcopal heritage that I love and admire. Did you know that around 70% of people in the Episcopal Church came from a different denomination or from no church at all? That makes us in many ways a church of seekers, of people searching for faith, meaning, community and, whether they name it as such or not, Jesus.
Part of our searching means that we may not always have our faith figured out- exactly what we believe or how we put it all together in our lives. Because we seek to be a caring Christian community where everyone is welcome, we naturally expect that there will be among us questions, doubts, unanswered or unanswerable quandaries and earnest searching for the presence and love of God. This is normal, and healthy and to be expected.
It is certainly not the case in my life that I’ve always had it all together when it comes to faith and belief. I still don’t! I am one of God’s works in progress, and I am willing to bet that you are, as well.
Christoph Friedrich Blumhard expresses this so well:
|“People often think faith consists of forcing oneself to accept something that one does not and cannot understand. Often we call people believers if they just accept what others tell them. Some seek faith by denying reason and forcing themselves into something that has not yet become a personal experience. God requires a different faith, though. He is content if you believe what you can experience. Be faithful and hold on to what you have, not to what you do not have.”
So today let’s celebrate our searching, our uncertainty, and the God who loves, redeems and saves us and welcomes our questions, doubts, struggles, joys and celebrations as we seek to encounter Christ. Amen.