Churches that follow a liturgical calendar have entered into the Easter season, which will last until The Feast of Pentecost. These churches follow the pattern that evolved into the seasons of Lent and Easter. Lent began as several weeks of preparation for baptisms at Easter. The season of Easter started as the following period in which the “mysteries” of what it means to be a Christian were more fully and directly explained to the newly baptized. This process of explanation through participation was called the mystagogia. The term is gradually returning to the Christian vocabulary because more and more people are not baptized until they are adults, and fewer and fewer adults have been raised with knowledge of the Christian faith in any real depth.
Most people in our society seem to think they understand the gospel, when in actuality, very few have more than a vague notion about God and religion in general, covered over with a sentimental veneer of teaching of, or about, that really really good man Jesus. Once something about the unique gospel captures such a person and Christian truth leads them to baptism into the community and union with Christ, we usually find that learning about the depth of the faith has only begun.
The church is therefore rediscovering the tools and models that worked so well in the earliest period, when most new Christians had been raised in the pagan religions of antiquity. (Some are even rediscovering use of “the catechumenate.”) We, like the early church, need to offer new Christians the opportunity to enter into a deeper and more mature understanding of the faith they have embraced.
At the Threshold will be using the weeks following to examine the Christian faith in light of what took place in a small worship society in New Orleans this Easter. First, we should introduce this society and what they are exploring. Read More…