A Bridge of Living Stones

A Bridge Of Living Stones

A Bridge Of Living Stones

In First Peter, Chapter 2, sojourners are described not as orphans but as a “people” –  “God’s people”. In the same Chapter, Peter uses the image of living stones being formed into an edifice for God’s own purpose. The obvious image for me was one of a building – a virtual church.  From my days at Little Trinity Church in Toronto, I clearly remember a wonderful pen and ink drawing that showed the gothic outline of the church building, but when you looked closely, it was made up entirely of human figures – the members of the church.

As we have prayed about the launch of the ASF website, one the issues we have faced has been to describe the nature of what we were creating. Is it to be an exotic creation of internet technology, or is it to be just another parish of ANiC operating by geographic necessity in the virtual world? I believe that God’s intention is not for either of those identities. The first runs the risk of coming to resemble a virtual reality gaming site. The second just seems to offer a pale imitation of real physical fellowship.

Another problem is the requirements for membership. The Fellowship is founded on the Jerusalem Declaration as a common confession of faith. But what else does this involve? Does one have to be or to become an Anglican? Does it require one to join ANiC? Will the ASF compete for members with existing ANiC parishes or inhibit church plants? In prayer, the answer is “none of the above”. Isaiah 43: 18-19 states: Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing;  now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

The essence of living as a sojourner is to be a stranger in a strange land. Peter calls us all “Exiles”. Change is our daily reality. We are all familiar with the upheaval in our own lives and those of our Christian friends and acquaintances.  Yet, this is a field for ministry which traditional churches can only partly address. How do you support those who are in transition, or who are moving from church to church trying to fill the hollow in their hearts? How do you reach out to the disillusioned Christian who has given up on church entirely? Who can do that if not those walking the same road?

I believe that God’s challenge for the ASF is not to provide an alternative church edifice. It is to be a new thing. Gradually over the last few months the image that has emerged is that the ASF is indeed in the business of assembling a new structure out of scattered living stones, but it is not a building: it is a bridge. The Keystone of its arch is Jesus Christ. Its purpose is to connect the pieces not to separate them. It must facilitate our journey together. To use other images, it’s role must be as connective tissue for the body of  Christ or a “Travel Outfitter” for our common journey.

If this is truly what Our Lord has in mind for us it is an enormous challenge! It is also your challenge. This is a boot-strap operation. It will not have a big budget for buildings or salaries. Its main expenses will relate to internet and communications services that will provide the mortar to hold the bridge together. But the Bridge itself will be formed of living stones, a sojourner community composed of individual disciples who join together to shape and accomplish its mission.

Our vision is to be a bridge of Living Stones, connecting the parts of the Church for sojourners on the road to Heaven.

Mark Larratt-Smith
Anglican Sojourner Fellowship Convenor

We invite your comments on this vision.

  • Do you have suggestions of ways that the Fellowship can “connect, support, and nurture” Christian disciples?
  • In what specific ways could the ASF help you in  the circumstances of your life?
  • What role might you see for yourself in this initiative?

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