Over the past weeks when I’ve been on leave there has been a lot spoken about who we are in Christ, in the church and in community. Most of what Kelly and Roger have said relate to how we view ourselves and those around us – I want to take a step further this week and speak about the church.
Our reading this week brings us back to the Gospel of John and a chapter we really didn’t spend much time in earlier. However, having said that you will be very familiar with this passage as it relates to our “I am the vine; you are the branches” exploration of being grounded in Christ. This passage speaks of Jesus as the true vine, the love of the Father and the Son, abiding in that love and the giving of the new commandment.
It also throws in a verse that we tend not to think too much about, but just happened to be highlighted in one of the Bible Studies at last week’s Synod. John 15:14 onwards says “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made know to you everything that I have heard from my Father.”
As followers or believers in Christ who do what Christ commands us, we become more than servants, more than those waiting to be told what to do, we become co-workers, sharing in the knowledge of what is happening and the directions the journey is taking. This is being the church. Together we share in the knowledge of the Kingdom, together we share in the responsibility of the direction we travel and together we share in the story that is being taught.
This is the challenge of being one church, whether that is one congregation or one denomination or the whole Christian movement.
For us here at MUC, I believe we need to become a little more focused on the oneness of church, of the togetherness and how that impacts our actions, thoughts, and words. What one part of our church feels and experiences the other parts will also feel and experience – be that welcome, division, discrimination, or questioning.
Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring our commitment statement that I challenged you to make when we came back for in person worship late last year. We’ll be exploring each of the clauses, connecting to some key words and biblical passages.
As we gather this week and share in the meal that brings us together in communion let us begin with considering being one church and then move on to consider how we show that commitment.