Much has been said about Sen. John McCain having reached across the aisle, about how he and Sen. Kennedy were friends, about his interrupting a supporter to stop a false narrative about his opponent, then future President Barack Obama. Almost without exception these narratives have been celebrated as a universal common good we should all strive towards.
Democrats and Republicans alike have affirmed this conviction. Yes, they actually agreed on something. And surprisingly, it was that our differences should not divide us.
Soon the reverie around the Senator will fade and his grave will settle, and that goal will recede thus leaving little more than a footnote to the narrative of McCain’s death and life. Once again we shall return to the habits of division we have been manipulated into upholding, even promulgating.
Christian—you have another option! You can make a different choice. You have the freedom in Christ to freely associate with those you would name, “sinner,” “outcast,” “undesirable,” “deplorable,” “illegal,” “alien,” “evil,” “different,” “not like us.”
Christian—Christ has set you free to accept yourselves and to love God and neighbor, and be bound together with all believers in the church. (Brief Statement of Faith)
This particular invitation is specifically directed to the members of the Church. What better place to demonstrate the unity of God and the reconciliation of all creation? Where else is God going to do this work if not in Christ’s own body, the church? Who else to proclaim the gospel of reconciliation if not the followers of the Risen Christ who is our reconciliation? If we in the body of Christ cannot hear and be the word that proclaims, “there is no longer [many] for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” then God’s word of full reconciliation will be fulfilled without us leading the Way.
Christ offers an invitation, a place to practice our unity. Christ invites us to supper. We don’t come to the Lord’s Supper because we have everything in common or because we all believe exactly the same things or because we have the same theology. We come because we have ONE thing in common: we are invited by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, come, all you who are weary, and let Christ give you rest. And don’t worry about who else is invited, just rejoice that your name is on the list! Christian, maybe, the world would take notice of our reaching across the table—if we actually did so.
Peace, Rev Bev
Read John 12:1-11 In this gospel, the anointing of Jesus occurs before the entrance into Jerusalem at the home of Mary and Martha, Lazarus’s sisters. Lazarus was resurrected by God 3 days after his death. Mary honors Jesus. Judas steals from the group and the priests are trying to kill both Jesus and Lazarus. When have you been presented with an either – or situation? A choice to honor or a choice to disrespect? An opportunity to serve God or preserve what you have? What led you to the decision you made? What did you learn from the experience and consequences? Did your choice ultimately help or hinder your faith?
Pray: O God of many names, help me see you when I see any kind of poverty and guide me in your Spirit to serve you without hesitation wherever you may be found.
Read Isaiah 49: 1-7 Consider the creator of the universe saying to the chosen servant, “It is too small a thing,” that you are only for some and not for all. Sit with this claim that the servant of God is sent not to a chosen people but to all people in every nation. This week take notice of the “nations” around you at work, in the grocery store, behind the counter at your favorite fast-food place, picking up trash, mowing the lawn at the office park, speaking the news to you on our local networks….
Pray: Whenever I see a stranger, Light of the Nations, and when they don’t look like me, or come from the background I do, remind me, in the name of Christ, I am your ambassador to all peoples.
Read John 13: 21-32 Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus would tell us who betrays him here and now? When have you had your heart broken by a betrayal? How would you describe the “death,” that occurred as a result?
Pray: Suffering Christ, forgive me for the ways I give up on you and walk away from you, and break your heart.
Read John 13: 1-17, 31b-35 Have you ever gotten to bathe a baby? Or a person in need of assistance? Think on it. Remember the way their skin felt in your hands. Remember the sounds of the water or cloth or conversation. Remember the sight of a vulnerable person allowing you to cross their personal boundaries. What did you smell? If it could be described in a taste what would that be?
Pray: Thank you, Jesus, for bathing me in your love. Help me to follow your example.
See you in worship at Loudermilk (no foot-washing this year). 7:30 p.m.
Read John 18: 1-19:42
Pray: (Whatever comes to your mind, place it at the foot of the cross and trust that what needs to die with Christ will and what needs to live in him will return to you redeemed.)
Read Psalm 22 This psalm begins with brokenness and concludes in affirming the universal praise due to God. Have you ever been beat down, worn out, on rock bottom and still prayed to God because you know in God lies your hope?
Pray: May I remember, God of hope, that when I am weak, your love is, as always, strong enough to deliver me.
Sunday 4/1 CHRIST IS RISEN!
(When you enter the 11:00 a.m. Sanctuary Worship however, it will look like you are going to the tomb with the early morning. This will allow a time of silent reflection on all that transpired for Jesus and the disciples this week, including the crucifixion and burial of Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.)
See you in worship: 9:00 a.m. casual, outside, brass ensemble, Hicks with Picks, celebration and communion; 11:00 a.m. Sanctuary—brass ensemble, from Passion to Resurrection, communion and new life. Following worship you are invited to remain for an Easter potluck in Fellowship Hall—meat and drinks provided, please bring a dish to share.
Week 6 March 19-25