The Church’s missionary efforts looked like this:
- Start with building a smallish but beautiful chapel within the Church’s traditional architectural language.
- Assign 2 canons to make sure that the liturgy is celebrated beautifully and consistently, as it has been best celebrated for centuries:
- Then build a multipurpose building nearby, but not too nearby. (Building A should be clearly distinguishable from Building B.) This building will serve as a base for all the Church’s activities that flow from and are directed toward the Eucharist those two guy up above are making sure gets reverently celebrated.
- Then staff this facility. Note the order is very important, as it carries and communicates the truth that the Church is commissioned with spreading: that Jesus Christ we commemorate and Who is among us in the most powerful and direct way in the Eucharist has died and risen that we might be saved. AND that we therefore must love one another as we love ourselves.
Of course I’m ignoring a bunch of stuff here, such as how much more effort it takes to set up something like this instead of just sending missionaries out to celebrate Mass on a colorful native blankets spread on Mother Earth, and that the people being proselytized will not (at first) understand what is going on, and that if this were put into practice, many fewer (at first) missionary churches would be established. And I’m rejecting outright the idea that the message – of God’s sacrificial Love and our need for salvation – must be in any material way shaped for the particular audience. I’m making the radical assumption that people being people, and all of us needing saving, that this message doesn’t really need to dressed up in local garb in order to be digestible. Instead, I’m recognizing up front that the Way is weird and foreign and potentially off-putting no matter who you are. I’m rejecting the idea we’re going to go easy on it at first, make it seem just like what people are used to, only to spring the full horror/brilliance/dazzling Love on those same people at some future point. (Right? We’re planning on doing that at some point?)
Anyway, I’m just a nobody who hasn’t done anything, let alone been a missionary. I don’t even really know what is being done (except that mass on a blanket thing – got that from a missionary order’s magazine). Nonetheless, I can’t get away from what I expect would be Paul’s reaction to all this, the greatest missionary of all time and the man who tried to cut through the nonsense of the 1st century by declaring: “I preach Christ, and Him crucified!”