The Church as Witness
Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Christian Ethics
Deuteronomy 6; Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 84; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Acts 1:1-8
Quotes from the Last 24 Hours
“The church is God’s thought for the world.” - Dr. Hauerwas in plenary
“Salvation is being given new life, to be a part of a story that is unintelligible if God isn’t present in Jesus.” - Dr. Hauerwas in plenary
“Dr. Hauerwas was really challenging. He made me think about things in a whole new way.” - Student after the morning plenary
“It’s so amazing to see these students take ownership of the worship they’re planning.” - A mentor, after worship workshop
Reflections on the Lecture
In the morning plenary today, Dr. Hauerwas presented a passionate case for the church as a bearer of the message and embodiment of God’s kingdom here on earth. In fact, argued Dr. Hauerwas, the church (in America, at least) has lost its way regarding the centrality of Jesus to the story of God’s salvation, and thus it has largely failed to be the witness it was created to be in the first place. Often today the church wants to be an agent of justice and morality, but if the story of God-with-us in Jesus (his life, death, and resurrection) is left out, then the church is just another human endeavor. The truth is that we didn’t and don’t create the church; the Spirit creates the church as the extension of the incarnation. That is, said Dr. Hauerwas, “We only know Jesus through the church, and that is a miracle.” Therefore, it’s the distinctive role of the church to show Jesus to the world through the sacraments, through the word, and through being the sent-out ones to a broken world.
After lunch and a time of rest, students went off to their prayer practice workshops this afternoon. Workshops included Praying in Color, Lectio Divina, Prayer Journaling, Praying the Rosary, and Praying the Hours. Then students had free time, and many of them were hard at work practicing and planning for their own worship services, the first of which was held tonight. Before worship, we enjoyed a delicious hospitality meal provided by Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church. After worship, it was off to mentor groups to process the day, hang-out time in the dorm, and then lights out. Tomorrow we are looking forward to embarking on a Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope - a pilgrimage in Durham to help think through the challenges, promises, and calling of reconciliation. Picture at right: from arts village, displayed during worship.