The decline of faithful Eli’s priestly family, prophesied in today’s reading, began with the corrupt ministry of his sons, Hophni and Phinehas. Their sins included sloth (1 Sam. 2:12), greed (2:13-14) and lust (2:22). Obviously, scandalous behaviour among God’s people predates current headlines. Canada’s residential school system, the sexual exploitation of children, by no means confined to any particular denomination, and misappropriation of funds, all continue to make what’s wrong with the church rather obvious. Which makes it difficult to see what’s right with the church; but what’s right with the church is you.
In spite of the church’s institutional infidelity, as well as our own personal betrayals, denials and desertions of Jesus Christ, the world is a better place than it could be without the church’s mission; and you and I are better people than we would ever be apart from our companionship within the “priesthood of all believers,” as Martin Luther calls us.
So, on behalf of all those who have been favourably blessed by your faithfulness, especially on behalf of myself: “Thank you for your companionship!”
Holy God, thank you for the communion of saints, for our place within it, and for all our sisters and brothers who faithfully serve and support the church's mission; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. — PL