by Fr. William Danaher
Christ Church Cranbrook will welcome participants in the Exploring Our Religious Landscapes to an interactive and participatory exploration of Christianity on Wednesday, May 18, 6-9 pm.
At its best, Christianity is a religion practiced rather than just a set of beliefs held. Accordingly, the evening has been designed to lift up the kinetics of Christian practice in prayer, worship, study, art, and music.
We will first join the weekly worship and fellowship service of the Christ Church Cranbrook Community at 6:00 pm in the main church. Known as “Evensong,” this service marks the turning of day to night. The prayers and music during this service are all meant to highlight the way this physical transition from light to darkness does not affect the fact that we all live in God’s spiritual light. It also provides us with the opportunity to give thanks for the day passing and to ask God for forgiveness from any sins, or misdeeds, we committed during the past day so that we might go to sleep reconciled with God and each other. This rhythm of confession and gratitude represent the heart beat of Christian prayer and praise. Our prayers are drawn from both ancient and contemporary sources.
During this service, as we usually do, we will introduce a portion of the New Testament, with excerpts from early and modern Christian commentaries. The theme we will explore will be acceptance, which has been chosen deliberately to affirm the work we do with the interfaith and ecumenical communities. By locating this theme deep in our own Scriptures and beliefs, we hope to strengthen our own daily practice of acceptance. Christians believe that they have been accepted and reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, who “is our peace” and “has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Ephesians 2:14). Therefore, we need to be accepting and reconciling people. We need to build bridges, not walls.
After the service, we will welcome both participants and parishioners to a parish dinner, which is what we usually do each Wednesday. Christianity does not have any dietary restrictions outside of certain seasons of fasting. However, we will make every effort to serve food that our visitors will be able to eat in good conscience. At dinner, we will offer some discussion questions and have a moment for Q and A with the clergy.
After dinner, we will return to the main church for a walking presentation of Christian practices in art and music. Led by our clergy and docents, we will tour the sanctuary and other important artworks to offer a general overview of Christian practices that create identity and form our community. We also note the ways that, from its founding, Christ Church Cranbrook has had a mission of outreach to the neighboring towns and cities, particularly Detroit. While our efforts have been flawed, and our vision constricted, this faithfulness in mission is an important part of our history and the practice of Christianity. Finally, we will have a time to hear a presentation on Christian music as well as to answer any remaining questions.
Christianity is a broad and deep tradition that has many variations. We are truly humbled and honoured to have the chance to offer this very broad introduction and welcome. We are a joyful and loving community, and we are excited to welcome you to our spiritual home. Even if you already are a Christian, or think you already know a lot about Christianity, we encourage you to please come. We are always enriched when we show hospitality, and we will be blessed to have you with us.