After Sunday School

Last Sunday I was privileged to lead an adult Sunday school class in one of our New York parishes. Some twenty-five or thirty brave souls ventured out in the midst of a nor’easter not only to participate in the Eucharist, but continuing their formation as Christians as well. After the lecture and a good period of thoughtful questions and attempted answers, I was approached by three individuals.

The first, a young African American man, was finishing up a graduate degree and writing his dissertation on some aspects of “environmental sustainability.” He asked me what the churches were doing ecumenically about threats to the environment. I shared with him some of the efforts and programs of the World and National Councils of Churches, referred him to their web sites (www.wcc-coe.org and www.ncccusa.org) and agreed to meet with him to discuss the matter further.

The second was a young woman in her 20’s who said she was simply a visitor, had found the class quite interesting, and wondered if there was a church for “someone like her.” I soon discovered that “someone like her” meant an interested young seeker. Someone who sometimes thinks that the creeds are simply “beautiful myths” but really believes (and desires) them to be more than that.

I told her that I am sure many churches would welcome and value a bright, honest, young person like herself, asking legitimate questions and who appeared quite open to search for some answers. But, I said, the Episcopal Church is certainly one of those churches. We have a wide spectrum of belief within this church.

Some who do indeed believe the creeds to be “beautiful myths.” Others who hold both creed and scripture as literal truths. What binds us together, at our best, is a commitment to gather week by week at the Lord’s Table; listen to the old, old story; pray together; break the Bread and Share the cup of the Lord together in confidence that “when two or three are gathered together in his Name, he will be in the midst of them.”

And that he may even be made known to them “in the breaking of the Bread!”

The third, and final, person who approached me after class was a quiet young man whose accent sounded perhaps German. He simply asked if he could come in and chat sometime. I said, Sure, and gave him my card.

I wonder what we will talk about? 

2 Responses to “After Sunday School”

  1. thomas bushnell, bsg Says:

    wow, a very nice gracious moment indeed. as for the seeker, i hope my response would be just as yours. but i would add, silently, in my heart, a lament for all those who believe the creeds to be merely “beautiful myths” and insist that those of us who are not satisfied with that are foolish.

    i have really quite infinite patience–i hope–for the Christian who says that the creed is merely a beautiful myth. but it really gets my dander when such a Christian begins saying things like J. S. Spong does, to the effect that anyone who doesn’t agree is a benighted idiot.

  2. ecubishop Says:

    I could not agree more. We need to be patient with one another as we all travel along the Way, recognizing that we will not all be at the same place on that journey at the same time. Recognizing that God is always beyond our poor attempts at definition or description is a good place to begin.

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