Here’s a question….Why does St Luke’s exist?
I’m sure many of you could offer a pretty good answer to that question but I’m equally certain that finding one answer upon which we all agree might be difficult.
I want to suggest that the question of why St Luke’s exists must be considered in the context of the much larger question of why does the Church exist? Or to put it another way, What is the purpose of the Church?
By that I mean the whole Church…wherever it exists, whatever outward for it takes…that which is referred to in the Nicene Creed as the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
This is a theological question …
The Church exists because God has called it into existence, the Church is God’s new creation in Christ Jesus. Therefore the only perspective with regards to the Church’s purpose is God’s. Regardless of what we might want the Church to do and be, notwithstanding that hopes and needs and expectations that we might have with regards to the Church, and most especially our Church here at St Luke’s, it’s what God wants that matters.
So what does God want for and from the Church, what is God’s purpose for the Church?
There’s no simple answer to that question.
The Bible seems to offer a number of answers….
The Church exists to praise and worship God….
To continue Jesus mission in the world as the Body of Christ which is empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit….
To bare faithful witness before the world of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in Jesus Christ….
To be in the present a manifestation of the Reign of God as a community where people love one another and relate with one another as God intends…with mercy, compassion, justice and truthfulness….
This is not an exhaustive list….
So what’s the point I’m trying to make? Simply this…the fundamental question before us as a Community of Faith is “How are we fulfilling God’s purpose for our (the) Church?”. From this question flows others….Does the fulfilling of God’s purpose for our Church direct the ways in which we invest time and resources? What might be hindering us from being faithful to God’s purpose? Do we ever get caught up with things that do not, ultimately, have anything to do with God’s purpose?
The questions that relate to who we are and what we are called to do are ultimately theological questions that need to be answered faithfully and thoughtfully…prayerfully reflecting upon these questions may very well lead us in new directions and into unfamiliar places and situations.
But that’s what it means to be the People of God.