I’ve shared this quote at Morisset Uniting and again yesterday at the Induction of the new Rev at Toronto [Trona] Uniting, thanks Mike Riddell, as sharp as the 1980s writing!!
“The essence of the church has always been mission. It is created by mission, renewed by mission, and participates in mission. That mission belongs to God, and the church has stakes in it only insofar as it shares the life of God through Christ. To take part in God’s mission to the world is to become a conductor of the divine energy which has been unleashed through the tearing open of the Trinity. Apart from involvement in mission, the church becomes a tawdry relic; a dusty museum of religion, suitable for tourists and historians, but little else. The creeping temptation of the church is to believe that it is an end in itself. Power, wealth, security and the desire for continuity dog the life of the established church as they do any other institution.
The characteristics of the God made known in Jesus – love, vulnerability, redemptive suffering, service – are not nearly so attractive. So it is that theology and praxis must continually struggle against the tendency to co-opt God to the agenda of the church, rather than shape the church according to the will of God. Such is the history of the people of God, who attempt to follow the moving pillar of fire.
God will not be contained. The attempt to construct boxes for the divine presence is doomed to tragedy. Those who invest their lives in such misguided pursuits will be left with splinters and the distant laugh of the Spirit. God is God or even better, God is who God will be. It is no denial of the centrality of Christ to say that we are still finding out who God will be. Christian faith is not a deposit of information, but a relationship with the partner who is constantly luring and dancing in the direction of the horizon.Many groups have assumed that they know the mind and intent of God, and been made to look silly as they clutch their supposed certainties while God moves on.”