Our daily office this morning gives us this insight into the very early church. (Acts 2:44-46)  “44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts.” That generation lived out their faith in a particular way. It obviously worked or we wouldn’t be here talking about this. But it led me to wonder how the ways in which we structure our lives, the world around us and our church help or hinder passing on the relevant matters of faith to future generations.

In northeast Japan, around the year 1,000 CE, residents decided they needed to warn future inhabitants of the area that the vast, coastal plain there was subject to tsunamis and was not a suitable building site. To this day, local residents understand the ancient writing on the stones as the intended warning. In spite of this, some locals did build there, and they paid a terrible price when a tsunami swept them away in 2011.

Far underground in the Nevada desert, our nation is storing nuclear waste from power-generating reactors. The area will be radioactive and dangerous to animals for 300,000 years. How do we create a “Danger, don’t go there” warning sign that will be understood even 10,000 years from now? Consider that we can read ancient Greek and its antecedent, Linear B script used by the Myceneans. But the Minoan (Crete), Linear A script only a century older than B has never been deciphered. Linear A and B date back to around 1500 BCE or 3,500 years prior to today.

These early Monday morning thoughts lead me to ponder what will our spiritual legacy be? What will we pass on to future generations that is important to them? What will help guide them in making the world a better place? In the world that emerges from our viral cocoon of fear in six to twelve months, what will be important? How will we communicate things of ultimate concern?

Is that what Jesus was trying to do? Teach us how to get along in ways that transcend culture, history, time and ideology. “Love your neighbors as yourself.” “Love your enemies.” “Love those who hate you.” “Give to those in need.” “Be gracious as your father in heaven is gracious.” “Show mercy.” “Do not hinder the children.” And my favorite, “You will do greater things than these” [the things that Jesus did].

Many of you may not know, but we are using this “down time” at church along with some funds from recent bequests, to address eighty years of deferred maintenance. There are several projects underway that will ensure the beautiful structure we have at Sixth and Court will be usable for another century. Concurrently, we need to pay attention to the foundations of our faith.

Whether future generations are singing Beethoven, hip hop or Swahili folk songs in church is irrelevant. Whether we are still called “Episcopalians” with bishops and clergy and all that is irrelevant. What will be relevant is whether people who attend this church and those who come after will love their enemies, show mercy, feed the hungry, clothe others with dignity and righteousness, and reach out in love rather than retreat in fear.

Leave a Reply