"The positive message of the episode is that those who follow Jesus should voluntarily cultivate a simple lifestyle in the service of the apostolic mission and not allow concern for earthly possessions to prevent them from carrying out their mission." - Sacra Pagina, The Gospel of Mark
Some days I wonder what we'll do.
Some days I wonder what the church will look like in 40 years.
Some days I simply have to console myself with the knowledge that my theoretical grandchildren will look back on this time and be able to explain it. That's cold comfort to many, but I'm actually okay with it.
It is in times like these (and so many others, as we well know) that we simply must learn to let it all go. We have to stop wondering about all our institutional wealth and face Jesus.
Jesus loves us. Like Jesus love the rich young man from the story in Mark's Gospel, he loves us. He's glad we had success. He's glad we did all we did. He sees it as righteous. But, he says, if we are to be perfect...if we are to follow him into the new world, into the new covenant, we will have to find simpler ways to live...
This is an individual call to the wealth young man from Mark 10:17-31 as it is for all of us. But is it possible that it is also a call to our institutions? Is it also a call to understanding worship? I know that might seem like a leap, but what if worship for the Christian is to be simple, easily mobilized, a reflection of the savior who had no place to lay his head? What then would it look like? It could still be symbol-rich, even busy in some ways. But might it also be poor? Simple? Wild?
If we are to reorder that domesticated imagination then the practice of worship may be the place for us to start. John Roth wrote that “How we live is always an expression of what we worship. Ethics is an extension of worship.” If that is true (and I think that it is) then worship becomes a foundational practice for establishing a wild space in which the Christian imagination can root and flourish. In Christian worship we reorder our imaginations in accordance with the alternative future of Jesus through the telling of foundational stories about an alternative community no longer living according to the domestication of the world, the flesh, and the devil, but “being transformed by the renewal of our minds” (Romans 12:2).
Here are some links for you.