Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Festival of Christ the Chief Elder November 8, 2015
Jesus Christ Our Chief Elder
News sometimes travels slowly! In the early 1740s it took a while for the great news of the church that Jesus Christ was the Chief Elder of the Moravians, as recognized by a synod in September, to reach all the corners of the globe where that voice of God was present!
Before the decision to name Jesus as Chief Elder, one person was responsible to know what was going on in all the corners of the world where the Moravians had a presence, in each congregation, and in the life of each leader! In that age, travel absorbed most of the energy and time of the chief elder! Synod, in September of that year, heard of the enormity of the job description and the resignation of the incumbent elder. The delegates struggled, debated, prayed, without reaching any decisions, until someone wisely offered the insight that only Jesus could fulfill the responsibility.
That became a proposal which was submitted to a vote and passed without opposition! The remaining need was to share that decision with places, communities, and people in both the New and Old Worlds. November 13 was chosen as the date to announce this decision, because it was deemed realistic that the word could reach all the areas of the church by that date! The communities involved celebrated this news as the reality of the old phrase “Jesus is Lord.”
Some have suggested that this action was a “no brainer,” yet the reality is that those folks of the past sometimes got wrapped up in the idea of church and organization too deeply. Their decision should come as a caution for us today, lest we become tempted also to become too institutional in our view of the church and put Jesus “on reserve.” We should truly always strive to be his body in all things.
Frank Jones, pastor, Berea Moravian Church, St. Charles, Minnesota