Moravian Church in North America

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Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Moravian Covenant for Christian Living: Worship and Holy Communion

o62015doctringimageIn our January issue of the Moravian Magazine, we introduced a new regular feature, “Studying Moravian Doctrine.” Following the outline established by Jesus Still Lead On, An Introduction to Moravian Belief, we will cover different aspects of two central documents outlining Moravian doctrine and belief each month. In 2015, we are working through the Moravian Covenant for Christian Living (MCCL); in 2016, we’ll cover the Ground of the Unity.

This month will cover the parts of the MCCL dealing with Worship and Holy Communion.

Thanks to Dr. Craig Atwood and the editors of Jesus Still Lead On (produced in 2005) for this material. If you are interested in obtaining the entirety of Jesus Still Lead On, please contact the IBOC or visit store.moravian.org.

The full text of the Moravian Covenant for Christian Living and the Ground of the Unity are available as a free download from www.moravian.org. Printed copies are available from the IBOC.

 

Worship

Paragraphs 16 and 17:
Remembering that worship is one of our proper responses to Almighty God, an experience designed for our benefit and a part of our Christian witness, we and our children will faithfully attend the worship services of the Church.

We, therefore, will be careful to avoid unnecessary labor on Sunday and plan that the recreations in which we engage on that day do not interfere with our own attendance or that of others at divine worship.

 

Commentary:

The most basic activity of the Christian Church is worship of God. This statement does not diminish other important Christian activities, such as evangelism and acts of mercy, but it does remind us that the Church is first and foremost a worshipping community. This is evident in the Old and New Testaments where God’s people come together to worship him.

When we separate ourselves from the worship of the community, we are separating ourselves from the community of faith. Notice that the Covenant reminds us, though, that worship is not an obligation imposed on us; it is a blessing that we have received from God.

The Moravian Church has generally recognized that Sunday is not the exact equivalent of the Jewish Sabbath in part because Jesus reinterpreted the Sabbath laws of the Old Testament; however, the Covenant for Christian Living does highlight the traditional understanding that Sunday is not a free day for Christians. Sunday is intended to be a day for worship and study.

Questions:

  • What does worship mean to you?
  • What benefits do you experience by actively participating in the worship of your congregation?
  • Is it important to attend worship even if you do not feel worshipful?
  • How would you respond to the comment, “I can worship God without going to church?”
  • What do you think worship should be like in the Moravian Church?
  • Why is it important to bring children to church services?
  • What should people do if they do not feel they are benefiting from worship?

 

Holy Communion

Paragraph 18:
Holy Communion: In the celebration of this Sacrament we receive the renewed assurance of the forgiveness of our sins and of our fellowship with Christ; unite with one another as members of His Body; and rejoice in the hope of His return in glory. Therefore, we will commune faithfully and thus renew our pledge of allegiance to Him.

 

Commentary:

Our community of faith traces its origins to a reform movement in Bohemia that centered on frequent communion for the laity. We broke away from the Roman Catholic Church primarily over the issue of giving the cup (chalice) to the laity in Communion. Many of our ancestors were imprisoned or executed for sharing in Holy Communion according to the simple teaching of the New Testament.

Through the centuries, frequent and reverent sharing in the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ remained the holiest aspect of Moravian worship. Our ministers typically wear a white robe called a surplice in communion to emphasize that it is really Christ who gives us this sacred meal and that the personality and flaws of the minister do not affect the holiness of the sacrament.

According to Moravian teaching, if we refuse to take communion from one of our clergy, we are separating ourselves from Christ. The sacrament is about Communion with our Lord and Savior and our membership in the mystical body of Christ that transcends our divisions.

 

Questions:

  • Why do you think Jesus instructed his disciples to observe this ritual?
  • How does Communion give us “assurance of the forgiveness of our sins”?
  • Should you absent yourself from Communion if you are not feeling holy that day?
  • What do you experience when you take Communion? Would you expect others to experience what you experience?
  • Is Communion important even if you do not feel anything when you do it?
  • What do you think of the Moravian approach to Communion? Is it different than what you have experienced in other churches?
  • What do Moravians emphasize about Communion in our ceremony?

 

Next month: Relations with Other Churches and The Witness of a Christian Home. ■


In this series:

Moravian Covenant for Christian Living Series

Love, Unity and Diversity and Settling Differences In our January issue of The Moravian Magazine, we introduced a new regular feature, “Studying Moravian Doctrine.” Following the outline established by Jesus Still Lead On, An Introduction to Moravian Belief, we will cover different aspects of two central documents outlining Moravian doctrine and belief each month. In […]

Read More…

Posted in May 2015 | Tagged 2015, doctrine, May, StudyMCCL | Comments Off on Moravian Covenant for Christian Living Series

Moravian Covenant for Christian Living Part III

In our January issue of The Moravian Magazine, we introduced a new regular feature, “Studying Moravian Doctrine.” Following the outline established by Jesus Still Lead On, An Introduction to Moravian Belief, we will cover different aspects of two central documents outlining Moravian doctrine and belief each month. In 2015, we are working through the Moravian […]

Read More…

Posted in April 2015 | Tagged 2015, April, doctrine, StudyMCCL | Comments Off on Moravian Covenant for Christian Living Part III

Studying Moravian Doctrine: Moravian Covenant for Christian Living

In last month’s issue of The Moravian Magazine, we introduced a new regular feature, “Studying Moravian Doctrine.” Following the outline established by Jesus Still Lead On, An Introduction to Moravian Belief, we will cover different aspects of two central documents outlining Moravian doctrine and belief each month. In 2015, we are working through the Moravian […]

Read More…

Posted in March 2015 | Tagged 2015, doctrine, March, StudyMCCL | Comments Off on Studying Moravian Doctrine: Moravian Covenant for Christian Living

A new series: Studying Moravian Doctrine

Editor’s Note: When you ask Moravians, “what does it mean to be part of the Moravian faith?,” you’ll likely get many different answers about what our church is and what we believe. While the Moravian Church is known (and respected) for not being overly doctrinal or adhering to strict dogma or rules—thus the many ideas […]

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Posted in Moravian Magazine Jan Feb 2015 | Tagged 2015, doctrine, January, StudyMCCL | Comments Off on A new series: Studying Moravian Doctrine

 

From the June 2015 Moravian Magazine

 

Moravian Daily Texts

09/21/2017

Thursday, September 21 — Psalm 108:1–5
Jeremiah 51:24–64; Hebrews 6:1–12

It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:2 (NASB)

Paul wrote: My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Lord, thank you for being with us and helping us to rest. Continue to give us strength. Amen.

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