I am here on pilgrimage in Scotland and studying the lives of Saint Columba and Saint Patrick. They found ways to embrace the traditions of the people and integrate them with Christian faith.

All of this made me think of our history and the current state of our churches.

There was a time in history when belonging to church was motivated by avoiding hell or too much time in purgatory. There are churches today that promise to help one live a successful life. There are churches today to tell us who is going to heaven and who is not going to heaven. There are churches today that have contemporary music or traditional music or everything in between.

There are churches that offer comfort, fellowship, education, etc.

I believe there is a positive aspect to churches that provide those things, yet there appear to be “shadow” sides to those.

Should not churches also be about the joy of the Lord and the twinkle in our eyes? Should not churches take the best of all genres of music, of prayer and of worship?

It was obvious to anyone watching the royal wedding that Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church exuded joy and passion for Jesus and for love. This was in stark contrast to the restrained faith of the traditional anglicans.

May each of us find that spark of love and joy in our faith and in our expressions of that faith and bring that into our theology, our worship, and our education?

For what it is worth.

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“For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face.” I Corinthians 13.12 KJV. Rev. Shumard is priest in charge of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Casper. You may contact him at jshumie@aol.com.


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