Dark Night of the Church

English: Marsh Lane, Easter Sunday 2008 Photo ...

English: Marsh Lane, Easter Sunday 2008 Photo taken from Burgate on Easter Sunday morning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frederick Buechner wrote that “dreams of fame and fortune die hard if they ever die at all.” Sometimes it takes a long, dark night of the soul before those dreams die, before they are wrenched from imaginations that cling to them. And sometimes it’s God who does this work in us.

Is there also, as Elaine Heath asks in her book The Mystic Way of Evangelism, a dark night of the church? Are we experiencing it? Is God at work wrenching our alluring memories of social prominence and significance from our minds, ripping dreams of fame and fortune from our imaginations? Recently a church member mentioned the “good old days” when we had to put up folding chairs in the aisles on Easter Sunday. Is God inviting us to let go of those days and the accompanying dreams and memories?

(Christian Century 12/14/12)

I would call us all to ask ourselves if we are living with a dream of reviving the past rather than a vision of building the future. The church’s future cannot be achieved unless we are ready to embrace the fact that our beloved church is in a time of darkness, a darkness brought on not by lack of conviction or faith but  lack of love and grace. We will not bring the church out of it’s “dark night” by imposing tougher and more Spartan rules and yearning for the good old days. The future will be found as we fall down on our knees in prayer and lift our hands and voices  in cries for justice.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Living, Church, contemplative, missional

One response to “Dark Night of the Church

  1. Phil Michiels

    Indeed: “The future will be found as we fall down on our knees in prayer and lift our hands and voices in cries for justice.” The vision of Vatican II as related in the article I sent you is one that propels the church forward in love, respect and justice with regard to God, one another and the world. Many want the church as “Ivory Tower” back. We celebrate the ivory tower’s absence! Phil

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