Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday's Essay - Why God Has Called Us Together

Below is an essay that I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. You can hear a podcast of this message by going to the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.
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Frankly, I’m troubled that, from my perspective, we’re becoming what I think you could call a personalized society, where everybody is focused on him or herself  and where concern for others comes only after they’ve answered the question, What’s in it for me? Often it seems as though it’s OK for me to tolerate collateral damage just so long as I’m helped. Now, that appears to be the way things are heading, something that fits well within a society where capitalism is king and personal rights nearly always trumps communal responsibilities. Of course, people point their fingers in different directions, you know, to assign blame. I mean, they say it’s the fault of technology. Or it’s the fault of modern education and/or modern parents. Or it’s the fault of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, depending on your political passions. But regardless of the cause, this sure appears to be happening in our society.

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And yet, in this self-serving world, there are some places that are exceptions to this rule. I mean, tomorrow, volunteers from the American Red Cross will be distributing free smoke alarms in Follansbee, and beyond personal satisfaction, they won’t receive a dime. And every day, support groups come together to help those who enter as strangers survive and overcome their own demons. And families will draw together when one member faces a crisis, because what’s best for him is good for all. And maybe most dramatic of all, on Sunday, Christian communities will gather all over the world to offer God thanks and praise. But of equal importance, during the rest of the week, members of those communities will do two things that are truly amazing. First, they’ll support one another, offering their time and talents to encourage the discouraged and strengthening the weak. And second, they’ll take the love they feel for God and reflect it out into their world, to those who feel absolutely lonely and totally lost. Now, this is what those who’ve been called into the Body of Christ will do; they’ll act as Christ in the world. And what’s amazing is this: they’ll love one another as they’ve been loved and they’ll love their neighbors as themselves because that’s what their savior wants them to do. You see, it’s not to attain something they hope to receive; it’s a way to thank the one who’s already given them so much.

Now in a world that seems to reward selfishness more than selflessness, these are little pockets of resistance. But maybe that’s not the best image. I mean, instead of pockets of resistance, they might actually be beachheads that point toward a better, more caring and unified future. But regardless of what they are, given what these groups mean to those who are in and around them, I think they make it easy to understand why God has called us together.

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