“…we pledge ourselves to the other members of this church to share openly our problems and concerns, to care for the spiritual and physical needs of each other, and to make this fellowship a vital part of our life.” — Excerpt from the Columbus Mennonite Church Membership Commitment
This coming Sunday we’ll be welcoming new members into the congregation. They’ll be leading parts of the service, sharing a window into their faith journeys, and serving Communion. When Mark and I met with this group a few weeks ago, I was impressed with the thoughtfulness with which each of them is entering this commitment, and grateful for the rest of you who have made this congregation a place that welcomes new folks with open arms.
Membership Sunday is also a time of renewing the commitments we make to one another. Our baptismal identity calls on us to reject the evils of this world (which tend to end in “ism” and “phobia) and live into the way of the kin-dom of God.
Choosing to be a part of a congregation is something of a confession that we are unable to do any of this alone. The life Jesus calls us to puts us in relationship with people we may otherwise have no reason or opportunity to associate with. Even so, we regularly fail to be our best selves, we can easily fall into the kinds of patterns and attitudes our culture has prescribed for us. We are human beings, and it’s not always pretty.
But we also live under the banner of “the new creation” that the Apostle Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 5. Despite ourselves, we are caught up together in the work that the Spirit is doing among us, and we are in the process of becoming. We are becoming the new creation, a new humanity. We are becoming the body of Christ, members of one another.
That’s the challenge and the joy of life in a congregation, and every once in a while it’s good to remind ourselves of what it is, who it is, we’re becoming.