This Sunday I am not with you in person.
Instead, I am preaching at St. Mary’s Kerrisdale, the church in which I grew up, that formed me perhaps more than any other community in my walk with Jesus; the church where I explored professional ministry, with children, youth and families; the church that helped me discern a call to ordained ministry as a priest.
It is a true blessing to be invited to go back and visit this week.
It also presents a good opportunity to think about ecclesiology (a fancy word for what we claim and believe about “The Church”).
‘The Church’ is much, much bigger than just St. John’s, or St. Mary's, or any other individual community of faith, no matter how big or small. If each of these communities, which gather followers of Jesus together to pray, love and serve, are stars, the true Church (with a capital ‘C’) is a constellation.
We are connected. We are a family. We are one.
Unfortunately, we don’t always act that way. We imagine false divides – our vision becomes too petty and competitive and small for the expansive plan and purpose that God has for ‘the Church’ and the world.
May we know, may we remember that, in the words of Paul, that “indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many,” that “if one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.”
May we know, may we remember that though I am not with you in person, we are together in Spirit and in truth, that we all worship together as one Church this Sunday morning, because it is only together that we are whole.
Thanks be to God!