An Animated Church

“Come to Life” the Lord said to the dry bones.  Animate. Make alive.

I imagine a Church that is life-giving. 

In my reflection on vocation last week I identified four ways of understanding how God has been real in my own story and a desire to share that with others.  If God is real, then our Church ought to be a place of encounter and transformation.  This week, I want to revisit these ideas as I imagine what the Church might look like if it were to proclaim that God is real. 

A Church that really believes that God is present to us in every moment and that each person has the capacity to grow in knowing God.  This Church is thoughtful about how it gathers for worship and formation.  Attention is devoted to creating spaces for encounter with God: life-giving communal prayer, worthwhile preaching, education, and spiritual direction.  These are available for all the faithful to experience.  Programs are evaluated based on how they bring life to the community rather than how many people attend. 

A Church that really believes that everyone is called to a holiness and to a messy and beautiful life with God. This church allows space to acknowledge and learn from differences. There is  understanding that being human is hard work and we seek to share and lighten the load of others, rather than piling on with judgment or shame. Varied experiences of God are welcomed as sacred and grace-filled.

A Church that understands the Kingdom of God as urgent and communal. In this Church, we see fellow Christians as collaborators and friends.  Here, each person has the space to live fully into their own vocation and be in community with others who are doing the same. There is space for everyone.  Gifts are developed, nourished, and put to use. It is understood that work for peace and justice is necessary and integral to mission of the Church. Everyone is called to participate as we seek to realize the Kingdom that is here, but not yet realized. 

A Church that recognizes and welcomes God, even if God shows up in surprising or unbidden ways. This Church operates with an openness to the Spirit and belief that God is the one who will bring forth life.

2 thoughts on “An Animated Church

  1. Do you have an image or a symbol that puts flesh on this “animated church” you envision?

    When have you encountered the God of surprises and how do those experiences animate you?

    In our conversation today, I believe you raised the question of reaching ordinary women/people where they are — not only progressive women. Thinking further on that issue has me wondering whether it this feedback process we are engaged in — asking each other questions in order to encourage us to go deeper–might also work in different environments. What kind of questions might be asked of people in order to meet them where they are and move them into broadening their perspectives?

  2. Curious about how this dream might live at immaculata school — definitely a place that is very much zalive!

    What work do you perceive to be most urgent?
    What feelings or hesitations emerge when you imagine being the one to help animate and invite forth others’ gifts?

    How can the tapestry of various spiritual experiences and religious formations be welcomed through your ministry ? (Thinking of a very diverse staff of >100!)

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