• Steven Marsh

Schism Compounds the Problem: a Reflection on Psalm 11, Psalm 133, Amos 9:11-15, 2 Thessalonians 2:1

Pride is a dangerous thing. I am aware of its havoc in my own life. Ministry is not about me, but pride has led me, many times, to behave in such heinous idolatry. I truly do seek to do the will of God; to point people to Jesus not me or any particular ministry in the congregation I serve. The denomination in which I serve is being shaken. Challenges to what is essential for our orthodoxy and orthopraxis are at the forefront of our attention. So many are fleeing our churches; lay and ordained. In fact, congregations are vacating the denomination in a rapid pace. The psalmist warns the faithful to never flee but to take refuge in the LORD. In fact, he reminds us that the LORD tests the righteous. So, I ask myself, what is driving the exodus? Could it be pride? Is schism ever of God? The psalmist also writes that it is good for the faithful to live together in unity. That begs the question to ascertain what the essentials are for orthodoxy and orthopraxis. I conjecture that justice, mercy and faith are good plumblines to get at the essentials. Might the essentials be contained in the Apostles’ Creed, which seems to be a clear summary of biblical teaching and stands the test of time in our creedal tradition? God has, is and will continue to repair God’s people. But, we must be honest and forthright with our brokenness in order to be repaired. Father, continue repairing me. I reject schism as an option for repair for the simple reason that pride may form the foundational motivation for such action. Sin, impressed upon sin, does not seem to be a sustainable model for repairing the people of God in general, let alone the facet of God’s people who gather under the Presbyterian Church (USA) family name.

Scripture texts are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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