The weight of Christian worship history testifies that the Sunday service is primarily a gathering of, and for, the faithful. This is not to say that we shouldn’t consider how our worship services can best speak in the language of our local contexts. It isn’t to say that we shouldn’t consider if our gatherings are marked with radical hospitality and welcome. But we gather in continuity with the first followers of Christ who found the tomb empty on Sunday.
The protest that is needed in a violent, fragmented and fragile world is the formation of communities of character, where the reality of grace and the possibility of holiness are taught and lived, where individual rights are tempered by membership in the body of diverse gifts.
None of the people welcomed by Bishop Kennedy had broken their covenant of ordination and the majority of the people welcomed by him had been pressured to leave in large part through the experience of violence or threat of violence. Those circumstances do not seem to resemble the case of Mr. Schaefer.
Wesley knew how to be abased and how to abound. He intended, as did his brother John, to live all of life under God’s hand, whatever the circumstances of any given day.
But before ending this description of the good shepherd, Jesus adds one more quality. The good shepherd, the true shepherd, realizes that there are other sheep besides the ones that are most visible. There are other sheep … for if we are of Jesus’ flock, we too have other sisters and brothers.
Though it may seem to be the most difficult to define of the three, Wesley insists on including spirit with doctrine and discipline because right doctrine (belief) and right discipline (practice) are not enough in themselves.