Live Prayer with Bill Keller

The height of this evangelist's hair was a harsh contrast to his receding hairline, but was a perfect match for the broad and bright striped suit he wore. His image was of such comical proportions that I could not resist watching - need I further admit my tendency to be a judgmental jerk?

However, Robert Tilton has nothing on this guy's appearance and so I watched for a short while. For the insanely curious, you can see a video here in which his suit is not quite as astonishing as the one I saw...either way, Tony Soprano and his buddies are clearly missing stuff out of their closets. Anyway, his show is nothing more than him sitting on some elaborate set while taking live phone calls from all manner shall I say...interesting people. One guy called in and was offering his diagnosis of the why the "church" is in such poor shape: the adoption and use of the pagan Roman calender. Not the use of the calender itself, but the celebration of things like Christmas and such. The caller even admitted he gets strange looks from people when he tells them that the "church" needs to stop celebrating Christmas.

Well, Bill Keller has a perpetual strange look, and he was adamant about correcting the man. The REAL problem with the church today, he says, is that 7 out of 10 church services on any given Sunday will not have an invitation for people to come and meet Christ.

Now of course what he means here is that there will not be an altar call - a very specific set of words uttered and actions taken that meet the criteria of a "salvation experience." But in the context of this simplistic understanding, the subtle and yet profound invitation to be found in the Orthodox liturgy goes unperceived.

The celebration of the liturgy is one grand and beautiful altar call to come and meet the Risen Lord - most blatantly so at the Cup. More than that, the fast is an invitation to meet Christ, the feasts are an invitation to meet Christ, the pagan Roman calender days are even now an invitation to meet Christ. Our prayers are invitations, our Icons are invitations, our vast array of services are invitations, our monastic tradition is an invitation, in fact all of Orthodoxy is one great invitation to meet Christ.

But the invitation is not to a hour long weeping session before a stage, or the raising of a hand while all eyes are closed and all heads are bowed. No, it is an invitation to an ongoing experience and effort, lasting even beyond a lifetime. Meeting Christ unnecessarily means meeting His Church as well. You join Him, you join a community. The invitation to meet Christ is an invitation to His Church.


Anonymous said…
I love this guy...He is a bright light in this very dark world...God bless Pastor Keller.....

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