Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The Renewal of the Church
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (13)
At his first mass, Pope Francis warned his Cardinals that without spiritual renewal, the Catholic Church faces irrelevancy. I think that it is fair to say that churches throughout the world are in need of spiritual renewal. The search for church renewal is typically examined at the Episcopal and/or Pastoral level and very rarely at the level of the laity.
As lay-people we need to ask ourselves of our role in reviving the spiritual life in the Church. In Ephesians 2:11-22, Apostle Paul reminds us that, as Gentiles, we are brought near to God by the blood of Christ. Before Christ, we were spiritually alienated and cut-off from God. We were neither partakers in God’s covenant nor in His divine blessing. We were aimless and without purpose. But now with Christ, we are made alive. We have a King, a Messiah who has invited us to join in the Glory of God and to live with him eternally. Therefore, in our worship we should be celebrating God’s love for us with the highest of high joys and the loudest of loud praises. Yet, in churches today, we act and worship as if we don’t have Christ. We seem to be pre-occupied and weighed down with life’s every day problems and fail to worship with emotion, jubilation and spirit. We fail to show Christ how honored we are to have received the covenant union with him. We tend to go through service as a formality. We seem to forget that at one point in time we did not have the inheritance of the Kingdom of God.
It is unclear how we have come to this state because our forefathers and foremothers were so vibrant in their worship. They were really jubilant to be in church to glorify God. They had a deep hunger for Him. They would tackle wind-swept rains, flooded roads, broken footwear and scorching heat to get to Church, prayer meetings, conventions etc. They were deeply committed to worshiping God and the Holy Spirit was alive in them. They considered it a privilege to be in Church. The spiritual vitality was genuine, contagious and it grew. We, on the other hand, have lost this spiritual vigor. We have become too casual and comfortable. We are lulled into a state of entitlement. We need to get back to our roots and worship like our parents and grandparents who believed in the passion of Christ. We need to grow in our worship such that through worship we receive the power of the Holy Spirit. The renewal of our Church can come from the ground level by building each other up and praising our Lord corporately with joy and passion that is within us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, Forgive us for taking for granted the Love, the passion and the grace that you have extended to us. Amen
Thought of the Day: Can we strive for spiritual renewal?
Bob Simon, Carmel MTC, Boston.