Not another meeting!!!
Yes, just like the apostles.
And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
Any organization faced with questions and debate can choose between several courses of action. They can choose to let the boss decide. They can appoint a committee to study the issue and make recommendations. They can have open debate and discussion and still let the boss decide the outcome. They might meet and reach a consensus decision and act in accordance with that decision.
The early Church was not immune to questions and debate. How did they settle those?
We read that Paul and Barnabas were faced with questions and debates in the faith communities they served. They didn’t play the ‘I’m the apostle and I say so’ card. They didn’t appoint a commission to study the issue and give recommendations. Rather, they returned to the center of the Church in Jerusalem where the Church gathered in Council (or Synod) to decide on the matter collectively.
There is one key reason for doing this. The Church can only decide on important issues when it is assembled as one. When it exhibits this physical unity – gathered in Holy Synod – it also exhibits the fact that it is more than a corporation, company, club, or group. It shows the unity it has in the Holy Spirit. In Holy Synod the Church exhibits the unifying and guiding power of the Holy Spirit. The Church does not decide for itself just because. It decides as the Holy Spirit guides it to decide.
Our Holy Church closely adheres to the principals of the early Church in its democratic process. At the local level we gather during annual meetings and regular parish committee meetings to decide as guided by the Holy Spirit. We seek input and guidance from each member of the parish, because the Holy Spirit lives in us individually and most importantly as a collective body – the Body of Christ. Our diocese and the entire Church gather regularly in Holy Synod to exhibit both our physical unity and the underlying unity we have in the Holy Spirit. We trust that when gathered in meetings like these we are more that just a parish, just an organization. We are the Body of Christ, the Holy Church.
Another meeting, question, or debate? Greet each with joy as His disciples, His body, and see the Holy Spirit at work.