Sunday, May 21, 2017

Together forever

Catholic apologists mock the Protestant category of the invisible church. The Catholic alternative is a visible church that's corrupt and chockfull of nominal members, even by Catholic standards.

To speak of the invisible church is not to deny a visible church. Rather, these are overlapping entities. But they don't coincide.

Catholic apologists like to quote Jn 17:21 ("that they may all be one"). But on their interpretation you have to wonder, 2000 years down the pike, when, if ever, the Father plans to grant his Son's request. 

I used to take afternoon walks at a nearby cemetery. I usually went around the same time. Based on that unscientific sample, I noticed that a few of the same people came nearly everyday, a few of the same people came nearly once a week or once a month, plus people who rarely came, in addition to people who never came–to judge by neglected graves. 

Especially in reference to the regular visitors, even though they are strangers to each other, they share a hidden affinity. An invisible unity. 

They share a common grief. They share a common hope. All of them are waiting for the same thing. They can't see their dearly departed again unless they die, and they won't see their dearly departed again until they die. 

If you were a Martian, if you didn't know the purpose of a cemetery, if you didn't understand human nature, you'd be puzzled by why these unrelated humans visit the cemetery. What draws them? What do they find there? You'd be unable to discern the common bond of unity. For that can't be seen. Yet it's real and powerful. 

And it's analogous to the Eucharist:

Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes (1 Cor 11:25-26).

Like the Eucharist, they visit the cemetery in remembrance of lost loved ones, and they do so in the hope of reunion. Both backward-looking and forward-looking. Separately, singly, and collectively.  

Outwardly, these seem to be random individuals with nothing in common. But appearances are deceptive. 

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