The Scriptures tell us in the Gospel of Matthew 16:18b, “and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” For far too long the church has believed itself to be impenetrable due to these words of Jesus. I dare say, that these words are true only if we continue to be a people of life and sustenance, otherwise the gates of Hades, or death, will have no need to prevail for we will have become death itself. Therefore, we must be willing to expound, flesh out, regurgitate, question, adore and despise the once commonly held belief system and usher in the new and greatest commandment based entirely on love for God, neighbor and self. We do not forsake our ancient faith by doing so. On the contrary, we choose to listen to what God is saying today. It seems so simple a calling and yet from the history of Christianity, complete with unthinkable atrocities, we know it has yet to be fully accomplished. The church must be willing to confront its mistakes, which are a tragic litany stretching several times around the Earth, and beg for forgiveness for not walking continually in the love of God. We must bend our knee to those who have been ostracized due to their race, sexuality, beliefs, economic status or simply appearance, and seek to become one, a people of peace and unity, as Jesus so earnestly prayed for before his crucifixion and death.
I am reminded of a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:
Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill itwith all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it isamiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is inwant, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sakeof Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.