Now join me back in this conversation.
Last week I preached on the epistle, the letter, known as Third John (3 John) and the ways that sacred, vulnerable conversation happened in those letters. Letters were written to and from faith communities and their members, to discuss sacred matters that affected the Body of Christ. These last few weeks in our society, and within our faith community are no different. There have been and will continue to be, places for sacred and vulnerable conversation, that will make us stronger as a faith community when we continue to engage one another.
To be frank, we have had a lot of controversial topics that have changed the shape of our society, and then on top of that we have lost 7 members of our family in faith as they entered into eternal life with God. That is heavy - and that is why we draw together now.
As Bo continues on sabbatical and studies interfaith relationships, we've had sacred conversations by inviting Jews and Muslims into our church and talking about the ways we all find hope and strength in the One True God of all three of these Abrahamic faiths; we've discussed the ways that we are partners, siblings if you will, with our ancestors Abraham and Sarah who taught us about the One True God.
We've wrestled with how to respond to shootings in a historically African-American Church in Charleston, SC, both individually and as a community of faith. We've recognized the many different parts of our country that are broken, that have contributed to this atrocious act; we've recognized that there are many voices in this conversation; we have seen the forgiveness that has come forth as we have been called to forgive even the most heinous acts; we have pointed out the way that even our church, our sanctuary, is not immune to systematic racism as we often worship during one of the most segregated hours of the week. However we've also seen that there is always hope and grace in bringing together all of God's children regardless of ________.
Now today, June 26, 2015, we've seen an unprecedented act by the Supreme Court of the United States of America, granting the rights of civil marriage, held by some for many years, to ALL who seek that bond we call marriage. As has been stated in the ruling, this does not force our church to change the way that it approaches Christian marriage, but we know that it invites into a new conversation. Some are celebrating, some are waving rainbow flags, some wonder how we move forward as we continue to discern what it means to offer Christ's invitation to the table rather than just our own.
Even singularly, these are difficult conversations to have in the midst of differing backgrounds, and various opinions. Conversations can be heated, you may not agree with one another, and you may not agree with the pastor; You may agree with many, and with one of the pastors, but not all of us. However, no matter what, we are in SACRED conversation when we have them in the Spirit of Christ that invites us to the table.
All of these situations together, it is even more difficult, but not impossible. As we watch the news, Fox and CNN, MSNBC and CNBC - national and local - and everything in between, we see that there are many things which seek to divide us, that keep us from sitting at the table together. However, "we are The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world," and we find strength in bringing together those fragmented parts of our lives, because we are more complete, we find wholeness, when we see ourselves in one another.
We know that God desires wholeness, and fullness, and that there is nothing that can keep the brokenness of the cross from the wholeness of that third day. We know that fragmentation is not what God desires, and so we seek wholeness together. We find courage and strength to seek wholeness in this horribly fragmented world, by COMING TO THE TABLE. We move forward, together, and we seek wholeness, together. We face the fragmentation of this world, together, when we keep COMING TO THE TABLE. We come to the table where we can engage not only in this sacred conversation, this holy discussion, but also in a meal so full of grace, that it does not run empty.
Come to the table. Come to the table, with an open heart, and an open mind. Come to the table ready to be transformed by the God of grace and justice that offers love and compassion through a life given for us. Come to the table, ready to listen and engage in this sacred conversation, this holy, vulnerable discussion. Come to the table, because we can only find wholeness at this table, when we are all here. Breathe in Jesus, breathe out peace. Breathe in that very breath of the Divine that created us - and come to this sacred table to find wholeness the comes brokenness.