Where Charity and Love Prevail
Posted on May 15, 2017 | Posted by Pastor Daniel
Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found;
brought here together by Christ’s love, by love we thus are bound.
I like to talk a lot about identity. I think that’s because it’s such a powerful influence on our lives. Sometimes we are reminded that we are ‘role models’ for our youth and ‘citizens’ for our country, and these identities build us up. On the flip side, we are often told we are ‘consumers’ or ‘tax payers,’ as if what matters about who we are is what we consume or what we pay in taxes.
As Christians, our identity is rooted in our baptism, in God calling us God’s own and promising to love us forever. If we think of ourselves first and foremost as baptized children of God, that changes how we approach this life.
What I too often miss in this identity talk is that we have an identity as a people, a community, too. As a church across the world, as ELCA Lutherans, and as Ascension. What is our identity as Christians? What defines us, not individually, but collectively? What makes us a group, instead of a random collection of people?
We sang “Where Charity and Love Prevail” (ELW 359) at our Easter sunrise service, and the second line of that first verse strikes me: brought here together by Christ’s love by love we thus are bound.
That same baptismal promise of love that tells us who we are individually, binds us together as a community, too. It is the Word of God, which brings us together, this awesome word of grace in a world of such little grace. It is the promise of being loved which compels us to come and worship and come and be part of this thing called church. And having been brought together, that same love binds us together.
Which can sound a little frightening. Being bound together? We are people who love liberty and want to be individuals. Well … too bad! 🙂 Part of being in the church is that God’s love binds us together. It binds us together in caring for one another, in forgiving one another, and in being part of spreading God’s love in word and deed together. God’s love defines us as a people. The challenge and joy of being church together is to ask that old Luther question: what does this mean for us? Let’s ask that question together, too.
Let us recall that in our midst dwells Christ, God’s holy Son;
as members of each body joined, in him we are made one.