After having a place of honour and influence in our culture for more than 1500 years, the church has once again become a minority. We are a pilgrim people, travelling toward the arrival of God’s kingdom in its fullness, desperately in need of the hope we claim. What does it mean to be the Church in a post-Christendom culture, which has forgotten what the tall building on the corner of Osborne and Broadway is for?
My most interesting class at Wycliffe so far has been “Leading Missional Congregations,” in which we’ve discussed extensively the difference between church as “maintaining the institution” (care for self) and church as the body of Christ proclaiming the reign of God in our communities (care for others).
At St. Benedict’s Table, we seek to dialogue between the communities in which we find ourselves and the Gospel—that is, the announcement that God’s kingdom of healing and restoration is breaking in among us through Christ. Often, however, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the confusion and pain in our midst and at a loss as to how the kingdom proclaimed by Christ has any real bearing on our everyday lives. We’re not in churchland anymore; this is real daily life in the 21st century. What does it mean for us to be Christ in this context as a worshipping community? As families? As individuals?
I think we can begin by asking good questions, such as, “What is this kingdom and where is it breaking into our midst?” We can also ask questions about how we’re called to embody that kingdom, which has come but has not fully arrived; it is “now but not yet.” Who are the people I encounter (or avoid!) each day? What would the kingdom look like for them?
As my class wrestles with these questions (and “wrestle” is not too strong a word—I’ve thrown books on the floor in frustration) we are learning that they are questions that must be posed again and again as we seek to respond to new situations as Christ. Ushering in God’s kingdom is not a static process! As a travelling community, let’s keep asking questions about where Christ is showing up among us.
My name is Allison and I’m currently studying theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto while attempting to maintain community in Winnipeg. In theory I’m heading toward the priesthood, but in actuality I don’t have a blessed clue. What does it mean to lead the people of God’s kingdom in the twenty-first century? I’m trying to understand how to be a faithful proclaimer of that kingdom in a world of serious inequalities, apathy and hopelessness. That’s a big part of why I live among the people of St. Benedict’s Table- because here I have found a community that is unafraid to ask hard questions and which welcomes my own frustration and doubt. The peace of Christ be with you.