By: Russell Galloway
The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is his new creation by water and the word…
-The Church’s One Foundation, by Samuel J. Stone, 1866
What a week. Given the number of fellows from the deep south, it would be safe to say that this past week’s weather has been a jolt to most of our systems, literally. Before I fell and busted it on a recent dark, stormy night, “black ice” was to me nothing more than some ethereal, scientific abstraction. That said–– here’s to an ever nearer Chaco season.
Amongst other things, our recent roundtable and retreat discussions have largely been focusing on the proverbial “launch” come May. I, for one, will miss the immediate Capital Fellows community. “Fellows” and “community” often go in the same sentence. A classic tagline –– but really! Another one of the many merits Capital Fellows delivers is diving headlong into a local church community. At McLean Presbyterian Church, we both see and benefit from people’s responses of joyful obedience to God’s grace. I have noticed that when parishioners take God’s Law seriously, we, the fellows, are blessed. How else could one explain the free meals, radical hospitality, and free rent?
And, even though it can be tough for Christians to believe in the possibilities of the institutional, holy catholic Church, I am experiencing, via Capital Fellows, the benefits of a church body stepping up and seeking to fulfill its job description. I am convinced that as Christians, we are not allowed to have cynical attitudes towards the Church. If anything, we lean in to the broken parts of the Body with prayerful optimism.
As we recently re-read our “community pact” (the by-laws set by the fellows at our kickoff retreat in September) at Monday’s weekly roundtable gathering, we evaluated our groups’ adherence. How have we done? We acknowledged that all human groups are flawed, and how each fellow, or church member, for that matter, brings at least one ounce of dysfunction to the Body. But, is that the end of the story? NO. We look to the cross. Who is there in our place? Whose Spirit do we now possess? Upon Whom is our house of living stones built? We behold Jesus Christ the Righteous, our Cornerstone, who is a firmer and surer foundation than the black-ice asphalt upon which I recently slipped.
Because God walked through the dissected bull in Abraham’s stead (Gen. 15), obedience is a possibility. We, as a Capital Fellows group, as MPC, and as part of the holy catholic Church, can, in fact, veritably love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and also love our neighbors as ourselves. How is this possible? Perpetual repentance to, and remembrance of, Him, our Cornerstone. The language of “We love Jesus” is good; but, it need–be always and evermore shrouded in the reality that Jesus loves us more.
Can we really love God, or his Law? Can the institutional church truly function as it was intended? Yes, and yes, only and ever because of Who forms our base and dwells amongst us. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever!!
Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion,
ring out your joy,
for the great one in the midst of you
is the Holy One of Israel.
-The First Song of Isaiah (adapted from Isaiah 12), by Jack N. White, 1982
Pictures from the Week