“The Great Rummage Sale” by Mother Louise Kalemkerian | May 27, 2020
Phyllis Tickle, author and academic, in her 2008 book The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why, wrote that every 500 years the Church goes through a “rummage sale” and cleans out the old forms of spirituality, replacing them with new ones. She cites Constantine in the late 4th century; the Great Schism of the 11th century; the Reformation of the 16th century; and now the Postmodern era of the 21st century as turning points for these historic changes.
We are living through such an historic time. The church we are becoming, adapting as we have to online worship because we can’t gather, engaging in zoom meetings, praying for the ill by phone, caring for one another by various means of check-ins, will be different from what we knew just three months ago. Not just St. Paul’s. The whole Church, the entire Body of Christ, worldwide.
M. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Theological Seminary, wrote in The Christian Century several years ago “There is no rational explanation for the church’s survival over the past 2,000 years—there were many compelling political, intellectual, and social reasons for it to have gone out of business long ago…
“The only possible explanation for the church’s survival is that Jesus Christ chose to use it to continue his mission of bringing the kingdom of God to earth. … Historically, every time we landed in the ditch, as the mainline church has done today, Christ pulls us out and invites us again to lose our lives to find them.”
As we come to Pentecost this week, we are reminded how the disciples were empowered to move out of their comfort zones to share the love and goodness of God with the world. Jesus the Christ still uses us and calls us to be missional people, to seek and serve the least of our brothers and sisters and to affirm the image of God in all persons, even as we socially distance.