*When [Jesus] entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things,*
*and who gave you this authority?" Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.*
*Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" - Matthew 21*
If someone showed up on the streets – or the back roads - of Craftsbury one day, preaching, teaching, healing, and challenging the “accepted leadership” of this longstanding community, We might well ask, “Who do you think you are? By what authority do you speak?” We might even call the cops. At the very least, most of us would likely at least cross the street to avoid this person we’d probably think was just an offensive nutjob.
What gives us the authority to speak, especially when we might be saying things that upset the applecart? And by us, I mean not only those officially designated to speak of spiritual matters; I mean anyone who feels the breath of the Holy Spirit and seeks ways to explore and share the holy challenges that voice utters.
When we peel back the layers of officialdom in matters of faith and the Spirit – the rules, traditions, hierarchies, litmus test doctrines, defenses, and false idols of organized religion - we almost always find that the heart of God’s ever-unfolding invitation to humankind is all about upending our assumptions. Jesus was crucified for one reason: he refused to follow the rules. The rules about who’s in and who’s out; about who’s good and who’s bad; about acquiring possessions and status; about piety and “holiness.”
We seek to worship in ways that calm and restore us; this is a good thing. We also gather to remind ourselves that religion is about a conversation with God, not a lecture from God. There is more room to explore, doubt, and ask questions than we may have been asked to believe in our “organized” faith life.
We’d love to explore with you; to ask together the questions that lie at the very heart of our faith, incomplete and sacred as it may be. We worship at 10 AM. Please know how welcome you are. Always.