Several years back, our leader came up with these words to help introduce us to the curious: "We are (D)disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table as God has welcomed us." Today, I would like to reflect on those words for a bit.
Those words speak about what we believe is wrong with the world, and what God's intention for the world is. First, there is that part about being "a fragmented world." What we mean is that human society is divided by walls of hate, fear, and distrust. That fragmentation comes in many forms, including racism, sexism, hatred between nations, and between religious groups, just to name a few of the many ways humanity is fragmented. All of these fragmentation cause harm to people, and leave us all with a sense of alienation from one another. On some deep level within us, we understand that all of these divisions, and the ways of fear and hatred, represent what the Bible calls sin. All these divisions do not represent what God intends for the world. In the very first chapter of Ephesians, we read these powerful words about God's real intention.
"For He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will, according to His purpose which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."
We, as the Disciples, see our mission to speak and act as witnesses for that great mission described in those words in Ephesians. We seek to find the way to love our neighbor, even when we disagree with him/her. We seek to tear down walls of prejudice and witness to God's truth that all of use are created in God's image. We seek to be those who advocate for healing in broken families, and for freedom for those who now live as slaves. We resist the impulse to see matters in terms of "us" and "them." Our commitment to God and to the idea of wholeness calls us to see everyone as part of the greater "us." In Luke's gospel when the lawyer asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus answered with a story whose message was that the last person you would want to call neighbor, well, that one is your neighbor, too.
Who are we as Disciples of Christ? We are the people who are hard at work, seeking to be part of God's mission to unite all things in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. We do this not by coercion, but by being examples of God's love and truth that are too big and bright to ignore. May God continue to give us strength and vision to live out this mission!
Blessings, Pastor Ted