Dancing on the Head of a Pin

There is a legend of St Thomas Aquinas asking "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" At this blog we ask all questions dealing with our faith and spirituality. Some are down to earth, rubber meets the road questions, while others are more lofty...like, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Do we really want change?

In today's daily office Gospel reading, Jesus casts demons out of two men into a herd of swine and (you know the story) the swine went down a cliff and into the sea. What's interesting is that the townspeople all came out to meet Jesus (we would expect this) and they asked him to leave (we wouldn't expect this). Certainly we are on the outside looking in, knowing who Jesus is and judging the situation with a perspective 2000 years old, but I starting thinking as we had Morning Prayer, is the church in some ways like the townspeople? Most, if not all, churches have missions statements of written goals identifying what they as a church want to accomplish for the Kingdom. Most of the time, these goals involve growth.
"We want to grow." "We want to bring people in." "We want to be what God is calling us to be."
But when change actually starts occuring and the swine start running down the hill, do we as the church regret our mission statements or goals? Growth is painful. Change is difficult. Becoming whom and that which God has called us is a process. Jesus met two demoniacs "who were so fierce that no one could pass that way." The neighborhood was held hostage. Jesus cast the evil out and freed the town from being held hostage.
"The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood."
Losing the demoniacs meant also losing their herds. Was that worth it for the swineherds. Obviously not. Is it worth it for the church to lose a herd to gain freedom?
What do you think? If we were to make this story an allegory, who would play what role?

Steve +


Blogger King of Peace said...

Thought provoking. One thing it causes me to think is how difficult it is to be a truly welcoming congregation. We love our churh and want others to enjoy the fellowship we share. Then new people come with different ideas and gifts and they want to change the church. This act of the stranger bringing change to the church is a gift of the Holy Spirit and a difficult gift to receive. Why don't these new people just settle in to the groove we have? Why should we change?

Yet we are either growing or dying. We are either changing or stagnating. We are to welcome newcomers, knowing that we will never be all we can become as a church without continually welcoming new people and new ideas.

It's a scary enough proposition that it can make some people want to ask Jesus to go work on some other church and leave ours alone.


9:22 AM  

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