Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Episcopal Life And The MDG's Revisited

Much to my surprise, Episcopal Life and the MDG’s was picked up on some other blogs. There was no shortage of commentary. Many comments were very critical of the Episcopal Church. One in particular asserted that the MDG’s were actually a new gospel replacing the Gospel in our Church. This was not my point. My point was that we could easily make connection between economic justice and the Gospel as proclaimed by the Christ.

One need not be a scholar of the Bible to see Jesus’ concern for the poor. The BCP lectionary has us in Luke’s Gospel, and the last several Gospel readings are very focused on Jesus’ vision of economic justice. Jesus presses us to understand God’s concern for the poor. Jesus uses the familiar image of the wedding feast as a metaphor for the Kingdom, and makes it clear that the poor and outcast have a place there. We are under an obligation to grasp this, and make room in the Church as an expression of the Kingdom.

Jesus’ vision is bigger than the Church. He seeks the transformation of creation, and expects the Church to be the vehicle of that transformation. Therefore, we have micro and macro obligations. We are called to act locally and globally. To ignore either is to miss the point.

One commentator argued that the Church should worry about itself, and the members, as it were, should be encouraged to act individually. There is nothing wrong with individuals working beyond the confines of the Church as an institution, but I fail to see anything wrong with the Church working as the Body of Christ. There is no convincing argument in the Bible of this kind of reductionism. In fact, as St. Paul talks about the Body, he describes many members working together to form the whole, and that we need each other to accomplish the task before us.

The lessons at Morning Prayer this morning make the point that faith is to be lived in the world. God calls Solomon to be faithful through the promotion of the allegiance of Israel to God. The lesson from James calls for works to be the product of faith. Peter is called to stand firm in his confession of Jesus as Lord, but fails.

We, likewise, are called to faithfulness. Faith is not held captive by the Church. It is to be actively lived in the Church and in the world, as the Body, and as individuals. It is not one or the other. It is both. That is the Gospel.


Bryan+ said...

Thanks for a great posting. I think you're absolutely right that there are clearly articulated connections between economic justice and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in scripture and tradition.We ignore those connections at the cost of our faithfulness to Christ. Embracing the MDGs can be one way for the Church to be faithful.

Chris+ said...

Thx Bryan. I do hope that our publishing and media arms make the connections.