In the summer of 1991 the members of the North American Congregation of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist made a pilgrimage to Great Britain to mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of our Society. We began the pilgrimage in Oxford, where the Society was founded in 1866, and proceeded to Iona, an island off the west coast of Scotland with a long monastic history. The boundary in Iona between heaven and earth is considered very thin. We spent a week on Iona in retreat. From there we returned to Oxford for a final week of conversations and services.
Fall Preaching Series 2015
Monastery Chapel of St. Mary & St. John, Cambridge
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
Luke 10: 17-23
“If you died tomorrow, do you know where you’re going?”
I should have seen this question coming. I was in a second interview for a position at a small, faith-based, non-profit organization. I was inspired by the work the organization was doing, offering non-religious educational and social services to new immigrants. It was the height of the economic recession, I was a recent graduate from Harvard Divinity School, and I was hungry for a job doing work I could believe in. Though some of the fine points of my own faith differed from theirs, I was hopeful that, with some skillful, interpersonal ecumenism, I could stand on common ground with these fellow followers of Jesus.
Having grown up in the Bible Belt, I had been asked this question before. There is a “correct” answer. It’s: “Yes. I know that I’m going to heaven because I’ve been saved by Jesus Christ.” I could have said yes. But I knew that for me to say yes in that moment would be to shrink the untamable God I had come to love after years of seeking down to the contours of a theological shoe-box.