How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
~ Psalm 133:1 ~
Sitting in the sanctuary at Christ the King Lutheran in Mankato (on Tim’s installation day), I listened to the readings for the day, knowing that those gathered at St. Paul Lutheran in Le Center were hearing very different readings. While you were listening to the puzzling story of the dishonest manager found in Luke 16, I was hearing about the unity of beloved community found in Psalm 133. Needless to say, we probably heard very different sermons that day.
The unity of beloved community — it sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Yet, we live in a time and place where unity is not always easy to come by. We spend a lot of time and effort trying to achieve the opposite: divisions between us and them. We put up boundaries and avoid conversations with those who might disagree with us… because they’re wrong anyways. But no matter how many divisions we make and how many boundaries we put up, Jesus comes and breaks them all down, uniting us all in the gift of grace, love, and forgiveness that he offers to all. All of a sudden it doesn’t matter if we’re us or them, because we have been united in Christ, united in beloved community.
And that’s what we are, a beloved community. We celebrated the diversity found amidst our beloved community this past month on our Quilter Recognition/Presentation Sunday. We recognized the giftedness of our quilters and blessed the faith journeys of our youth. But we don’t just celebrate our beloved community on those special Sundays — we celebrate it every time we gather, because we are called and gathered together into beloved community not by our own doing, but by God. And in this community, we support and encourage one another through life’s joys and hardships. We do this not because we agree on everything, but because we are a beloved community united in the grace and love of Christ.
I invite you to think of a time when you were supported and encouraged by this community. Who was it that supported you? What was said or done that encouraged you?
Now think of a time when you were able to support and encourage someone else in this community. Who was it that you supported? What did you say or do to encourage them?
Rest assured, the opportunities to encourage and support one another are plentiful. And because we are a diverse community, we’ll get the opportunity to support those with whom we agree as well as those with whom we disagree. But that’s the beauty of beloved community — we love, support, encourage, and forgive one another. We get to do this because we are united in Christ.
Thanks be to God for the grace, love, and forgiveness that we have received, as well as the grace, love, and forgiveness we are able to offer one another!