Part III: Eucharistic Prayers Celebrating the Embodiment of Presence

Essay by Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D. on 21 February 2019 0 Comments

Let me begin by restating my belief that a corporate liturgical text (be it a eucharistic prayer, a collect, or a hymn) needs to be a Wisdom text. This means it is a prayer with the capacity to foster the soul’s growth, helping her to realize that she is an utterly unique expression of Being that is present as Boundless Love.

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Question

 
Is it possible that the work of God in our time might be to get rid of the Church?

Answer

 
Dear Peter,
 
If that is the work of God then it seems to be working since the Church is in a statistical free fall all over the Christian world. People say that this is not true in the Third World but I have never been impressed with that data. The Christianity I meet in the Third World, with notable exceptions in people like Desmond Tutu, Khotsu Mkullu and Njongonkulu Ndungane, is an anti-intellectual fundamentalism that is propped up primarily by fear and superstition. It will not survive since the thought forms of the advanced world will someday inevitably engage those irrational claims.

I do think the Church, as I have known it, is dying. But I also see a new Church being born. I prefer to call that new entity, not the Church but the "Ekklesia," which is a transliterated Greek word that means "Those who are called out." I see the membership of the Church of tomorrow to be those who have been called out of tribal identity, out of prejudice, out of gender definitions of superiority and inferiority and even out of religion. That Ekklesia will also be constituted by people who have been called into a new humanity, beyond the primitive boundaries that now bind the Church inside its prevailing cultural prejudices. I expect this new Church to grow as the old Church dies. I have no further desire to seek to stop the death of yesterday's Church. It fulfilled its purpose quite well, but now its day has passed. A new day is dawning, ushering in a new Christian future. I welcome it.
 
~ Bishop John Shelby Spong
Published October 15, 2003

 

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