This week we’ll be exploring the story of John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness. He has a message not to individuals about their separate and private relationships with God, but to a community. The people respond to him with “we” language.
This is pretty different than our culture, which focuses on the individual, and our rights and responsibilities. We can come to church that way, thinking, “What can I get out of this?” or, in a best case scenario, “What can I contribute?” Jesus offers a different kingdom way of thinking, a communal approach to life. That means there is no us and them, no friends and enemies (that’s what I talked about last week). We are encouraged to forge a new identity as “us”—God’s children.
We are called to do that with the world but where the rubber hits the road is often at the church level. Bracket “us” on a world level; can we try to attain “us” at a congregational level? That doesn’t mean we have to be buddy buddy with everyone in our church. But it can mean solidarity and commitment. Across the generations; young people being listened to, old people having attention paid to them. Across the life circumstances; single people, married people, widowed people; employed and unemployed; sick and well; rich and poor. Listening, helping, walking with each other.
We have a new little person walking with us…perhaps you’ve noticed her going up for children’s story with her cousins Anna and Abigail. Katie Dow has a challenging road to walk because she has cystic fibrosis. She and her two brothers and their parents Todd and Julie are walking the road together with this illness, they are breathing as a family. You can learn more about the road this family in our midst is walking by viewing this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKeJeZ9TmV4 How do we work out what it means to be us on this road?
This week’s prayer: God of great strides, God of immense obstacles, you know the barriers between us, and the way these barriers can be brought down. Bring us together as a congregation—we want to be your children, together!