Howard is at a meeting for clergy this week. He came home and said something that has been running through my head ever since.
"What is a church?" Someone, who is probably quite tired of being a minister, said, "Ghosts."
Ghosts. At first I thought, "what an odd thing to say." Then I thought about it.
I can see it as a positive and a negative. Ghosts are memories, right? So the ghosts in the church are memories of those who have gone before. Those we have known personally, those who lived earlier that we have learned about.
Christ and the disciples are "ghosts" or presences, people we try to live up to, those who remind us of the way.
Those throughout history who have given us direction and shaped history.
There are the wonderful people in our past who have lovingly guided us and helped us on our way.
There are also those in the local church who rely on ghosts to resist change.
"But we never did it that way before!"
"Pastor K would roll over in his grave if we did that!"
"Mrs. X would take her money back if she were still alive!"
"It was good enough for me growing up, I don't see any need to change now!"
"My Dad said this is the way it should be and it is going to STAY that way!"
"We can change so long as we stay exactly the way we are!"
I was reading one of the stories in the Grantville series (series starts with 1632 by Eric Flint) the other day. At least in the 17th century (I don't know about now) the Jesuits were to start every letter or manuscript with the letters AMDG which stood for the Latin phrase "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam", For the Greater Glory of God.
Ghosts. In the church. Do they help or hinder? Are those ghosts For the Greater Glory of God? Perhaps. Perhaps those that aren't need to be laid to rest.