The Episcopal Church has recently released its latest numbers, for 2018. The overall trajectory of recent decades continues, with ongoing decline in the number of worshipers, churches and members.
In the role of a pastor, results are not tangible and are seldom measurable. Even when they are measurable, the question of what they are measuring is an open one. I can apply myself to a task and see nothing change over long periods of time. Pastoral ministry can often feel purposeless.
Expansive language presses against the limits of the worst habits of our theological imaginations, especially, for instance, assuming we know what a word like “father” means.
Those who care deeply about the fate of the planet would do worse than to take Tolkien’s Elves as their model, building communities marked by artistry, craftsmanship, husbandry, wisdom, and delight. This will involve equal parts remembering, stability, humility, and self-denial.
It is a source of comfort — or it should be! — to the Christian, that he with whom we have to do sits on his throne with sovereign attention, and that the whole cosmic drama is resolving itself toward a grand reconciliation with its creator through the cross of Jesus (cf. Colossians 1:19-20). And through it all our task remains the same: fidelity.