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May 12, 2024 - Passtor Message

05/26/2024

THE MEANING OF “CHURCH” (conc.)

“I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19-20).

“To love the name of the Lord, to become his servants - all who keep the sabbath without profaning it and hold fast to my covenant - them I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples” (Isaiah 56:6-7).

We have been reflecting these past weeks on the dual role of a church: gathering the People of God together to share our lives and build up our bonds of friendship and communion in Christ that then leads us to offer our lives together with Christ and one another as an “acceptable sacrifice” in prayer and divine worship, especially the Eucharist. Our church at St. Boniface provides two distinct yet connected spaces for these two roles: the gathering space and the worship space. Between these two spaces, we have most recently installed a glass partition to make both their distinctness and connectedness clearer and more effective.

The partition makes the distinctness between the spaces clear by presenting a physical barrier, reminding us as we pass through it that they are different spaces with different roles. While not sound-proof, the partition also helps reduce the noise coming from the gathering space into the worship space to allow for the silence needed to refocus on God in prayer and worship, a silence all the more important given our busy, noisy world.

The partition makes the connection between the spaces clear by the fact that it is made of clear glass, enabling people to see from either space into the other and so make the visual connection that what happens in both is part of the same great gift, our communion with God and one another in Christ. The doors enable free movement between the spaces, ensuring the integrity of both spaces while inviting people into the activities of both.

That is the purpose of the glass partition recently installed in our church - not to divide, but to unite in a way that makes our communion with God and one another a fuller reality. By greeting one another and building up our human bonds in the gathering space, we are able to more fully approach God as the assembly of his holy people, or “ecclesia”, in prayer and worship, and by dedicating our prayer and worship completely to him in the space we dedicate completely to him, or “Kyriakon doma”, we grow in our communion as his people by building up our spiritual bonds with him as living stones with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone, making up the new temple of God, the Church. That is the meaning of “Church”. May we remember it each time we use both spaces here at St. Boniface church.

Fr. Marc Stockton

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