Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we look forward to this upcoming Sunday, Worldwide Community Sunday, I remember attending one of the World Council of Churches assemblies in Brazil. During the assembly, a Mexican Bishop shared Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Upon hearing this, my thoughts went to World Communion Sunday as God’s redemptive love and remembrance of our calling as followers of Jesus Christ. In the midst of the Council’s Communion Service, we gathered from many nations, many denominations, many colorations of God’s people, the rich and the poor, the disabled and the needy, liberal Christians, Orthodox Christians, and Catholic observers to Jewish theologians, my spirit was illumined as I viewed the unity of God’s church as described in the New Testament.
Today, as we approach World Communion Sunday, we will be at Jesus’ table still with many uncertainties in our churches. We come to the table with unequal justice, family brokenness, mass incarceration, health care circumstances, a Covid pandemic, unemployment, less affordable housing, confronting the high cost of living issues, mass shootings and violence in our church communities, racial profiling, voter suppression, gender inequality, environmental and climate changes, political disenfranchisement, religious tensions, polluted drinking water, extreme poverty, unpredictable storms and earthquakes, flooding and homes unearthed from their foundations, and so much more. This is truly a symposium of concerns which calls for some sort of response.
As the RCA prepares for General Synod 2021/2022, there is a call for the Synod of New York to attempt to preserve the purity of God’s Church, to include learning and working with congregations, mission partners, Classis, and the denomination as a whole. By our actions at the table, we are called to encourage one another in our Christian Faith through Christian Forgiveness, Christian Love, Christian Service, Christian Hope, Christian Commitment and by being prayerful as we serve a broken world, equipped, and empowered by the power of the Holy Spirit.
During my Worship study in seminary with the late Dr. Howard Hageman, at the table, the professor offered these words: “It is time to admit the challenges we have faced and will face in the breaking of the Bread and the Cup.”
During this Season, may we be prayerful and offer encouragement to one another in words of Hope, in the presence of Jesus as we are at the table.
Continue to have a blessed October in Jesus our Lord!
Rev. Dr. Micheal Edwards, Interim Executive Minister