Festival of August 13; August 9, 2015
Part of Christ’s Team
I once had a conversation with a newer member of my congregation who told me of a very challenging family situation that had recently befallen her. When I realized that it had already been several weeks since the incident occurred, I said, “I wish I had known about this when it happened, so that I could have walked with you through this challenge. Remember, you’re part of a community that cares about you. I’d like you to think of me as a part of your team.” Silence . . . then eventually, “I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve never felt like I had a team before.”
Christ’s persistent mandate to love one another is not simply a call to donate food to the food shelf or even to pray for those in need. It is an imperative dictum to build community. When Jesus says, “Whoever who comes to me will never go hungry” (John 6:35), he’s not promising manna from heaven, but support from the community that gathers in his name. It is my belief that Christ is not impressed by the size of our choir nor by offering plates that overflow. I believe that what gets Christ out of his seat into a standing ovation is any time that a sheep of his flock offers a cup of coffee, a bagel, or a listening ear in the celebration of the gift of God’s grace already received.
On August 13, 1727, our ancestors ate, prayed, celebrated communion, and renewed the ancient covenant of the Unitas Fratrum to be the living testament of how we have been called to live out our lives as a witness to the mandate of Christ to “love one another.” Now, more than two and a half centuries later, the joy and the challenge of that moment continue to resonate in the hearts and minds of those who still claim to follow.
Mike Eder, pastor, Chaska Moravian Church, Chaska, Minnesota