Dear Friends in Christ,
What church do you go to?
It sounds like a simple question on the surface. Most of you would (I hope) say “Grace Church.” Or perhaps “the Episcopal Church.”
But the answer is really broader than that, I think. If you pay attention to the language of scripture, and to the language of the Prayer Book, you will read that there are not an array of churches to choose from, like dishes at a buffet. There is one church—The Church—Christ’s holy, catholic, and apostolic church. And that church makes a singular witness to the world.
I will sometimes talk with people who are struggling with a decision about where to go on Sunday mornings—a childhood parish or the parish of adulthood, the husband’s or the wife’s. And I remind them that we are in Christ’s one church with many parishes.
I bring this up because I will be at church this Sunday but not at our parish. The Falls Church Episcopal has invited Grace Church to a pulpit swap. I will preach at all of their services this week. On July 18, the Rev. Matthew Dumont-Machowski (whom many of you remember fondly as our seminarian) will preach at all of our services.
When we share in the proclamation of the gospel in this way, we are reminded not to think small. In the most literal of ways, we avoid becoming parochial, and we are instead reminded of interests, concerns, and perspectives beyond our own. I hope that Matthew will be the first of many guest preachers to visit us.
Keep me and the Falls Church in your prayers. And I look forward to seeing you (and bringing news of our neighbors) next week.