Sunday, November 21, 2010

Intergallactic Episcopalians

It was lovely to celebrate Christ the King Sunday this morning with our family at their new home parish, Christ Church Episcopalian in Blacksburg. They must have known we were coming, as not only did they set Psalm 46 to a modified version of A Mighty Fortress, but also, the Prayers of the People included a petition especially for travelers, in which we interceded

for those who travel on land, on water, or in the air [or through outer space], let us pray to the Lord (Book of Common Prayer p384)

Did you catch that? OUTER SPACE!!! For all those convinced that the mainline denominations have officially abandoned the Great Commission's mandate to make disciples of all nations, the ECP has kept its horizons stretching to infinity and beyond! While the United States government is busy scaling back its once proud space program, there's something ultimately encouraging and inherently hopeful in the preciousness of this bit of poetic prose. Even if the Church isn't really planning a missions project to Mars, or in the event that the Archbishop isn't actually a native citizen of that planet, on the day on which we celebrate the reign of the Lord of the Universe, it seems fitting to remember the cosmic dimension of the kingdom of creation. As a portion of today's Eucharistic prayer declared,

At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home. (BCP, p370)

I won't carry the ridiculousness any further by trying to draw any LOST parallels to the aforementioned island - though of course, they ARE there. But in a world of CGI sci-fi movies and mind-melting 8-dimensional video game extravaganzas that threaten to relegate childhood dreams of space exploration to exile on the isle of mundanity, I am thankful that through her worship, prayer, and the sacraments, the Church continues to fill her childrens' heads with intimations of the infinite, and inspires their imaginations with visions of wonder.

And who knows? With their considerable wealth, perhaps the self-destruction of the ECP (a star to which the ELCA has eagerly hitched itself) is merely a way to distract the secular humanists from the culture wars arms race so they can claim the bigger prize beyond the stars for the Gospel! Regardless, I thank them for reminding us that indeed, Christ is King, even and especially over those who continue to long for the stars. To infinity and beyond!

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