Moment #3: Losing the Bigger Picture

In the last two posts I wrote a lot about Anglicanism, Anglicans, and Anglican achievements. Anglican stuff is kind of a big deal to me.                                                      There is a richness in the tradition, there is a refreshing revival happening, and there is a whole world full of events that daily impact the global Anglican Church.

But honestly, it is easy to get wrapped up in it and have an elitist spirit.

Remember when the disciples argued about who was greatest until Jesus rebuked them?  John then proved he didn’t take in a word of what Jesus said by his very next words:

“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.”

Jesus showed remarkable patience with John

Jesus showed remarkable patience

Here’s the thing: the Church of Jesus Christ is way bigger than one denomination.           Our Bishop regularly reminds us that Jesus Christ said He will build His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. It’s a Church that Jesus is building – and it’s a wonderful, glorious, beautiful Church made up of Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Non-denoms, Copts, Congregationalists, Mennonites, Russian/Greek/Syrian/etc. Orthodox, Pentecostals, Lutherans, and believers from the  roughly 32,993 other protestant denominations.

"Guys, next time let's invite the Protestants...relax Bene, it's a joke" "Very funny, Bart,  you know we haven't room for them all.  Let's change the subject. We're making Rowan insecure."

“Guys, next time let’s invite the Protestants . . . relax Benedict, it’s a joke”
“Very funny, Bartholomew; you know we haven’t room for them all.
Anyway, we should change the subject; Rowan’s getting insecure.”

C.S. Lewis, a faithful Anglican, compared the Church to a house, in which doors lead off from a hallway into denominational rooms. He challenges us to choose the denomination that seems to contain the most truth, the most holiness, and the one our consciences draw us to, not merely the one that our tastes, preferences, and pride would choose. But he also tells us “be kind to those who have chosen different doors.”

I have chosen a door. It leads to a room that’s familiar and strange, ancient and new, with many righteous leaders in its ranks and many unrighteous decisions in its history, and with much awkwardness to be found inside.

Let's pretend we don't know who this is.

Can we pretend we’ve never heard of Henry VIII?

But it’s not the only door. Others will find good things in other rooms because Jesus is Lord of the other rooms, and Holy Spirit can dwell in members of the whole household. I don’t want every Christian to be an Anglican – I want every Christian to seek truth and community – to be a stone in the building, to be every joint that supplies, to be the hand or foot, ear or eye they were made to be.

We need each other.

The dear Baptist ladies that teach Sunday school and preach the love of God through felt and crayons.

The Catholic radio hosts that encourage us to boldly choose love and life without compromise.

The shy charismatics that swallow fear to step out and pray for your healing because they think you are more important than their personal comfort.

The faithful mommas and papas that have struggled against all that the world, the flesh, and the devil threw at them, but remained faithful for decades.

The preachers that ask, “what are your thoughts on that?” and don’t use it as an excuse just to preach some more.

Memorialists that lead us back in time to remind us of the price He paid to have us and The Sacramentalists that tell us Christ still gives himself to us if we will have him because we are still worth it to him (even after last week’s failures).

A house with that many rooms is bound to be awkward at times, but that’s what love for. Before Jesus died he prayed for our unity, that the world would know that he was sent by the Father. That is the big picture; let’s not settle for anything less.

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