Rector's Blog: We are a Church on a Mission
I left church for a long time. I had no intention of coming back to it, of “finding a church” or reconnecting, or being religious. I wasn’t really sure if I had any business calling myself Christian. Now look at me: I’m a professionally religious Christian working at a church. I have to tell you I did not see this coming.
But at some point I made the conscious decision that, yes, I believe in Jesus, yes I am a Christian. No, I can’t believe this all by myself. Yes, I want a community with whom I can share this belief and this life.
I grew up in a different Christian tradition, so when I decided to get reconnected to Christian community, I had to figure out where that would be and what it would look like. The Episcopal Church found me and brought me in.
At some point I made the conscious decision that, yes, I want to be a part of this tradition. I want to call it my own, and I want to belong to this Episcopal tribe.
Three years ago next week, my wife Krista and I were visiting Cincinnati to interview at Church of the Redeemer. It was the first time either of us had ever been in Ohio. We were quite confused when our plane landed and the attendant welcomed us to “Northern Kentucky”. I still remember the first time we saw the skyline as we came over the hill heading north on 71. And I remember the look on Krista’s face the first time we walked into the nave.
There was a moment in our shared discernment when we knew we wanted to be a part of the life of Redeemer.
Over the next few months, we are going to take a closer look at a specific part of Redeemer’s Vision Statement. We’re going to focus on what it means to be “Inspired by our understanding of why we are Christian, why we are Episcopalian, why Redeemer matters to us.” So often we are quite capable of talking about why we aren’t something, why we don’t believe something, the ways we don’t read our Bible, the things we don’t pray, the kinds of people we aren’t.
But can we as a church community speak openly, clearly, and positively about what we are? About what we do believe? About the way we do read the Bible, the way we do pray? Do you have the words for why you are Christian? Why you are Episcopalian? Why Redeemer matters to you? This isn’t a test, by the way. There’s no link to a quiz at the end of this, and you’re not getting graded.
The reality is these are deeply personal questions. They require that we look deeply at our selves – our souls and bodies, and consider how we got to where we are in our lives and beliefs. Maybe you don’t know how to answer one or any of these questions for yourself at this point. That’s ok! That’s why we’re here! That’s part of why God brought us together: So that we can do the work of exploration, learning, and discerning together, with support and care from and for one another!
We are a church on a mission. We have a vision of a worshiping community that knows Jesus and grows in love. There is great strength in understanding and articulating what we do believe, and why we are together in this church. Knowing what we believe is empowering. Understanding who we are will inspire us to become the beloved community for which we were created.