Thursday, February 01, 2007

Church and World: A Sermon

Friend Art Halbardier preached at Mount Olive Sunday, on the Gospel text wherein Jesus preaches in his home synagogue and ruffles a few feathers. (Art is a member of Mount Olive, and he was substituting for the pastor, who was on vacation.) For his focus, Art raised the charge, "When the Church rises up to be the Church, the World rises up to be the World."

It was an eloquent, quietly urgent bit of preaching. And it powerfully made the point that to live faith is not to be at ease in the world we live in. It was wonderfully Hauerwasian, which Art said he did not intend (but so what, eh?).

Hauerwas says that the world needs the Church to be the Church so that the world knows that it is the world. (That is SO Hauerwas, I think.) The Church is not simply the religious aspect of living a regular life in the culture; the Church is the new culture, its own culture, brought into being, modeled, and enabled by the Triune God. The "world" is that which has not yet been won over to the ways of God. And we shade the borders between the two at our own peril -- as Art suggests.

I commend his sermon to you (even though I don't often recommend sermons). You may read it here.


Anonymous said...

"And we shade the borders between the two at our own peril..."

Yes, and worse yet is when we attempt to erase the border altogether.

Thanks for this, Dwight.


Lee said...

Part of the trick, though, is that "the world" exists within the visible church (and vice versa we might say).