What Moves You?

What Moves You?

What moves you from doubt to hopefulness?

by the Very Rev. Jeffrey Frost, Dean of the Superior Deanery and Rector at All Saints, Redding

What moves you from doubt to hopefulness? Where do you experience the Kingdom of God coming into your life and the life of the Church? How do you express the love of God, both as a reality that already is and yet still to come? At All Saints’ Church in Redding, these are some of the questions that we recently addressed at a monthly meeting of our new Preaching Support Group, a gathering of our five lay preachers, two retired (but very active) associate clergy, and myself, as the Rector. Peter Steinke in his recent (2010) book, A Door Set Open: Grounding Change in Mission and Hope, suggests that our language (e.g. preaching) can either contribute or inhibit a missional perspective on hopefulness.

For example, in the Old-Time Church (Steinke’s terminology) our sense of hopefulness was centered around “saving souls” as the purpose of the Church. From a missional viewpoint the purpose of the church is “to be raised from the dead with a new body and to participate in God’s renewal of heaven and earth.” This New Creation outlook goes way beyond a maintenance attitude, inviting an active and hope-filled participation with God for the transformation of all of creation.

Another area of hopefulness that Steinke invites our reflection around is - What is the connection between the soul and the body? The “traditional” view has been that the soul is separate from the body and therefore we should be wary of the bodily/material world. Can we embrace a kingdom perspective, which I believe that God holds towards us, that we are created to be whole beings – body, mind, and spirit? At the heart, these are relational questions, about how we view ourselves, others, the world, and Christ.

Other questions that Steinke invites us to consider include: Are we in, but not of, the world (Old-Time Church) or in, and for, the world (New Creation)? Is our sense of time about “then” and “later” or both “now” and “not yet”? Is our focus on faith as private, personal and internal or is our emphasis on a trust in God’s mercy that becomes active (and visible) in love? Is our view of the coming of the kingdom of God that only what happens in the future counts or that God’s future promises have the power to change the present?

My challenge to our preaching team was to consider how these viewpoints influence their preaching – both in what they say we believe and how to live as people of faith. My challenge for each of us is to notice how what we believe is expressed in a message we proclaim each day. How are you a living sermon of hopefulness?

1 comment (Add your own)

1. David Shewmaker+ wrote:
Right on, Jeff! right on the money! (rite on...) Reaching out into the world to act as if the Kingdom is already here rather than something we can passively await is the mission as far as I can see.

Tue, December 4, 2012 @ 6:50 PM

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