The Rest of Your Life
Though I haven’t seen it lately, several years ago it was common to see posters and bumper stickers that said “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Though I’m not sure where the quote actually comes from, the Washington Post attributed it to CHARLES DEDERICH, the founder of Synanon, a self-help community for drug abusers and alcoholics, based in California. Though it may have been worn out through overuse, it’s a pithy thought, focusing us on the possibilities of the future if we take responsibility for today.
So – today is the next day of the rest of the life of Trinity Moravian Church! We’ve had our wonderful Centennial Celebration, we’ve reflected on the hundred years of history and the courage and vision of those in the past who followed Christ in active ministry to our neighborhood. Special thanks to all those who worked so hard to make that wonderful celebration happen – Centennial Committee, choir, ushers, kitchen workers, our tireless office administrator Kim Noftle, and many others. Only those who worked “behind the scenes” really know how much work was involved.
But now what? I’ll tell you what! It’s back to the work we are called to do! BEING the Body of Christ, SHARING one another’s pain and joys, HELPING those in need, LISTENING to each other and our neighbors, listening also for the guidance of the Savior in each moment, GROWING in grace.
I have shared many challenging articles and studies with our Joint Board over the last couple of years, but one theme emerges from recent research on the Church. While “institutional church” is in as much trouble as the newspaper business (pretty bad!), individual congregations thrive when they are actively involved in local ministry and purpose, where people in the parish know one another, love one another, and minister side by side, and are connected to the neighborhoods they are in.
Voices like Ross Douthat in the New York Times call us back to the “Empire Church” of yesterday, longing for an authoritarian top-down orthodoxy that has probably never been what Jesus had in mind. Moravians have never been about that. There’s a way in which we’ve always been small, local, connected. Moravians have a sense of being connected to one another and to the Savior that is a fundamental part of who we are and the peculiar ministry we are called to – to change our communities by our mere presence and existence.
We haven’t always fulfilled that special role of being “salt” and “light.” There have been many times that we have just been sticks-in-the-mud, mired in traditions without remembering the meaning that gave them vitality. There have been times when we have stumbled terribly, accommodating the world and public opinion rather than faithfully loving all we meet. There have been times that we have been so hide-bound that we couldn’t move fast enough to do what needed doing. But there have also been times when we have stood up and lifted those candles high together, and shed light in a dark corner that needed it desperately.
So what do we do with today? Today, and tomorrow, and the day after that we need to stand up and hold our candles high, we need to do what needs to be done in our congregation, in our Regional Conference of Churches, in our neighborhood, and in our city. We need to do that little thing we are called to do – change the world.
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