“We believe Christians are called to a committed fellowship of believers.”
This is the first of five “We believe…” statements from the CMC Membership Commitment. This coming Sunday we’ll read that statement collectively as we welcome 19 new members into the congregation. The new members will participate in leading the service and will receive and serve Communion. They’ll also share briefly from their faith journey and why they’re choosing to join up with the journey of this congregation. It’s hard to do all that in one service with 19 folks, so about half will be sharing this Sunday and the other half on the 21st.
The new members group met together for lunch after church back in April. Although it’s hard to speak for the whole group, three major themes that emerged were the values of community, openness to questions, and peace and justice. It fits with what I have sensed from so many of you, that we long to be a part of a community that cares for each other, seeks deeper understanding, and is engaged with the world.
Another thing that caught my attention was the questions that the Membership Commitment raised. Phrases like “to care for the spiritual and physical needs of each other,” “We believe all our material things belong to God,” and “to seek justice for the poor and oppressed” resonated with folks. But much of the conversation focused on other phrases folks found problematic. If we don’t have a regular household worship time, can we say with integrity “we pledge ourselves to regular private and family worship?” What does it mean to “actively lead people to Christ?” Is the church doing as much Bible study as commits to in this statement?
It was a lively discussion. Noting that the statement was written in the mid 90’s, we wondered together how much the congregation has changed since then and whether it would be worthwhile to revisit the language and…commitments…of our Membership Commitment. Either to be more intentional about fulfilling certain commitments, or to acknowledge shifting priorities. My personal sense is that this would indeed be a lively discussion.
These next two Sundays you are invited to consider what it means for you to be a part of this congregation. What does it mean for us to participate in this particular and local manifestation of the risen body of Christ in such a way that draws us deeper into fellowship, into peacemaking and justice doing with one another and creation, into the Way Jesus has opened up?