Love will keep us together

 “There is one body and one Spirit,

 one Lord, one faith, one baptism

One God and Father

Of All”

I think, beloved, we as the collective people of faith

Have forgotten the power of the Good News.

There is One

One Body, broken for Us

Given to Us

(pause)

Humanity is guilty of adopting and practicing

A theology of exclusion

Sometimes assuming the position of gatekeeper

Turning away those

Who are Hungry for what is being served at the Table

Jesus Says “I am the Bread of Life.”

Sadly many of us have experienced this

Being excluded

Being denied

Of relieving of our hunger and thirst

At the Table

(pause)

(Shared the story with the congregation about when the children attended a catholic elementary school and I had to remind them that they could not take Communion; how Izzy question and was puzzled by this simply because we were one denomination and this school another)

This made no sense to her-

“We all worship the same God, right?”

We should all be united as one, right?

(pause)

People of faith, misunderstanding God’s Word

Unfortunately use doctrines

Judging their fellow sisters and brothers in Christ

Measuring their worthiness

How many of us have stood there

Begging for an end to their hunger

Because something that we have heard in the Gospel,

Something that strikes us at the heart of our lamenting

Woven deeply in the Psalms

Something moving us by the power of the Holy Spirit

Causes us to reach out our hands and bow our heads

That.Should. Be. Enough!

(pause)

Instead, unity through love is shattered

Instead those who are waiting at the Table hear

“Because you do not conform

We deny you access to the bread and wine,

The Body and Blood

Of Jesus Christ.”

Jesus Says, “I AM the Bread of Life.

Whoever comes TO ME

Will NEVER be Hungry!”

(pause)

There is One

One Spirit that rains down on Us

Vibrates within Us

Surrounding Us

There is One

One God

Who Loves US

(pause)

But we have forgotten, beloved

We, as the collective community of faith

Are guilty of using God’s Word, of Scripture

To drive people further

Into despair

Depression

Shame

Sorrow.

There is too much PAIN in this World

This is NOT what God’s Word is Meant FOR

God’s Word does not condemn, does it beloved?

God’s Word UPLIFTS!

God’s Word has always pointed toward the promise of salvation

Everlasting Life!

But in ancient times, the reality of the Love and Mercy of God

Was hidden away in the Laws

Humanity feared God

There was little room for grace or mercy

Leaving out those who had been deemed untouchable

Shunned by their community

(pause)

But God’s Word

Transformed through Jesus Christ

Called both them, and us

To live accordingly

bearing with one another in love,

 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit

 in the bond of peace.”

Sadly there have been moments perhaps

When we did not hear the Good News

From the lips of our sisters or brothers in Christ

(pause)

(talk about the hymns that we lift up in praise, but sometimes we do not listen and hold fast to our hearts and in our spirits, the meaning. If we sing the hymn “All are Welcome”, we as a community of faith should exude this. Share with the congregation a popular gospel/sacred song heard on the radio that talks about Joy, Peace and Love in the Garden-but the next line states “Now this is only for us Christians, because WE can walk in the garden, sit in the garden, etc.”)

Our Ephesians texts warn us:

We must no longer be children,

  tossed to and fro and blown

about by every wind of doctrine”

Doctrines. Laws. Rules.

But we have a responsibility, right?

Uphold God’s Law

We have to set an example

To set us apart, to divide us from others…

 (pause)

It’s complicated

Confusing

Chaotic

We are disconnected from the Body of Christ

We are deaf to this exhortation of unity

Here, in Ephesians

Jesus came in the midst of absurdity

Of people who claimed that they followed God

But deprived their sisters and brothers in Faith

Not much has changed, right?

Our prayers that are too deep for words

Asking for Jesus to come in the midst of this absurdity

Because we as people of faith failed

We question each other

Whether or not we are true believers,

Based on the “right” version of the Bible we subscribe to

Or whether we sing the “right” hymns

Or if we baptize the “right” way

Or if we only let the “right” people in our churches

(pause)

Humanity only seems to unify

In the midst of tragedies

In the midst of death

We suddenly wake up and see one other for who we are

Fragile, Wrong, Weak

Sinners

(pause)

The church is not a religious community

Of worshippers of Christ

But it is Christ Himself who has taken form

Among the People.”

Bonhoeffer understood this Good News

He clearly saw this among the community of faith

In Harlem

Regardless of how society ostracized them

This people in exile knew that Christ was with them

That Christ encountered them, and us-as humanity

That Christ stands with those who cannot defend themselves

That Christ’s presence empowered them

Unifying them, and us

In Love!

Isn’t that Good News?

(pause)

Isn’t that why we gather, beloved?

“We must grow up in every way into him who is the head,”

Jesus Christ

“from whom the whole body, joined and knit together”

We, beloved-this is US

We are the BODY OF CHRIST UNITED AS ONE

We are ONE because God Wanted God’s People

To Live as ONE

And so God UNITES US

AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

Defeating ANYTHING that can keep us from God

Defeating even death.

(Shared with the congregation about how much words can hurt, and that God’s Word is healing; That nothing should ever stand in their way of coming to the Table because this is where Jesus Christ stands waiting, saying I AM)

Thanks Be to God

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