Common Devotion, Edina Community Lutheran Church

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community…racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.” – The King Center

Look! God’s Tabernacle is among humankind! God will live with them; they will be God’s people, and God will be fully present among them…. And death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more, for the old order has fallen.” -- Revelation 21: 3b-4

Bishop Munib Younan from Jerusalem preached from our pulpit on Sunday, March fourth; “The kingdom of God is not merely an improved version of the empire, but something completely new.” The Christian journey is about transformation – about breaking the bow and shattering the spear, turning the swords into plowshares, and expecting resurrection in the face of every death. I left worship that day with my vision lifted up, my aspirations renewed, and my convictions strong. How appropriate, I thought to myself, that we heard this bold word on the only day of the year that is also a command. March fourth; March forth!

The vision of empire, of status quo, of business as usual, of minor improvement to major injustice, of redecorating a house that has an essentially flawed foundation – all this is inadequate for the church. We are committed to a bigger vision. 

How does this look? It means resisting when asked to compromise our values. It means that we celebrate every small step toward God’s new realm, but we do not stop there. We rejoice in winning the little battles, but we will not rest on those laurels. We tenderly care for all God’s suffering ones, but we strive also to change the systems that cause oppression. We challenge conventional wisdom with eternal wisdom saying:

·          Greed does not lead to true wealth; only equity will do that.          

·          Violence will not protect us; only understanding will do that.

·          Vengeance offers no healing; only forgiveness will do that.

As we explore “Becoming Beloved Community,” how is God’s vision for the world being expressed among us?

When have we settled for “good enough” and been satisfied with vision that is too small for God’s people?

Can we celebrate every small victory but still keep working toward God’s greater aspirations for us?

– Pastor Jeff