Pastor’s Corner (1/21/2021)
“What Jesus wants from us is not admiration but imitation.“
In my article for the last Messenger, I mentioned the book “The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality” by Ronald Rolheiser. In that Pastor’s Corner I wanted to reflect on his thoughts about the incarnation. In this article I want to explore his thoughts about the meaning of discipleship and what that might mean for us here at FCC. I was really struck by his reflections on the essential components of a healthy spiritual life. Rolheiser suggests that there are 4 essential components of a healthy and balanced spiritual life which are found in the life and teachings of Jesus.
- Private prayer and private morality
- Social justice
- Mellowness of heart and spirit
- Community as a constituted element of
As I reflect on our life and world today, I was really struck by these 4 essentials for a healthy and balanced spiritual life. Rolheiser presents both the personal and communal aspects of the Christian life. So often we tend to move in one direction or the other and it is a challenge to embrace all these elements. While all 4 elements are critical, I was particularly struck by his reflections on community. As we close in on a year in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we have had to deal with physical distancing and self-quarantine. We have been forced to reflect upon and re-imagine what it means to be part of a community. When we cannot participate in public worship or attend the various gatherings that have traditionally been a part of our shared faith journey, what does it mean to be a part of a community at all? As Rolheiser points out, it is a challenge to be a part of a community. We come to know one another, warts and all. We see each other at our best and our worst. But, it is the willingness to remain connected that enriches our lives. Being a part of a faith community brings depth to our lives and faith. We are regularly challenged and invited to go deeper.
Here at FCC we have intentionally worked to maintain a sense of community. This has impelled us to do things we had been hoping to do, for example, creating a more intentional online presence. We are now able to live-stream Sunday worship and other special services in addition to being present on our website, Facebook, and Instagram. We send our weekly worship bulletins, send cards, and make phone calls. Even in the midst of all this, I suspect it will be a challenge to return to in-person participation once the pandemic is over. Undoubtedly, we will enter a new hybrid form of community that integrates virtual and in-person components. I invite us to take up the challenge presented by Rolheiser. What does it mean to be part of a community and why is it important for us as a congregation and as individual Christians?
I don’t know what the future will look like for us here at FCC, but I invite us all to begin pondering these issues. Both benefits and challenges will be the outcome of these unusual times. Hopefully we can face the challenges and embrace the opportunities that arise for us as individuals and as a community of faith. We are invited to imitate Christ and not simply admire him. With God’s help we can and we will.
With a courageous heart,