Monday, April 16, 2018

Reflections on the Sunday Sermon...



Sitting in a hospital room with a man from the congregation gave the opportunity to hear him telling about all the other people from church who had visited him—one congregant brought two hymnals and sang with him, another brought his instrument and played some tunes, others just stopped by with a smile or an encouraging word on lunch breaks or after work. All those churchpeople, he mumbled to me, made it easier to believe in God. When they are with me, he said, I know God is with me. The life of a congregation reveals the life of God. “Christ is present to us,” writes Herbert McCabe, “insofar as we are present to each other.”

When we read or pray the words of Psalm 23 we quickly realize the “you” David addressed his poem to is God. I hope others will recognize that “you” and then see all of us as the hands and feet, the flesh and bones of that "you" - the Body of Christ. “I fear no evil; for you are with me.” This reflection is a prayer for companionship, for us to be drawn together, for our presence to be signs of God’s presence and our love an incarnation of God’s love.

The gospel can be summed up in the psalmist’s word with—that God is with us, that we are with one another, and that we are with God when we are with one another. "With" involves the companionship of solidarity, and solidarity is at the heart of the gospel. As Dorothee Sölle puts it, “The best translation of what the early Christians called agape is still ‘solidarity.’” God’s love means solidarity, the embodied solidarity of God becoming flesh to get as close to us as possible, to be with us. And we find ourselves within God’s life when we are drawn into the lives of others, friends and strangers, neighbors across the street or across an ocean.

That might have been what Pastor Jeff was demonstrating as he walked the congregation in the middle of his sermon yesterday. What do you think?

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