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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Re-Focusing

First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to Marion for carrying the blog by herself for the past nine days while Joan and I went to soak up some much needed vitamin D in the sunny South. It was lovely to be there and to contemplate the not-so-distant dream of retirement. It was good to get away, to try to let my intense vision for CEM go “out of focus” for a few days. Perhaps in this sense, vacation can be compared to meditating: you try to let your mind be completely still (good luck with that) in order to hear and see what God or the universe may have to show you. My efforts, or non-efforts as the case may be, while never entirely successful, did help me see one small piece of the puzzle a little clearer. The following may illustrate.

When D. & C. 163 first came to Community of Christ, my attention was caught by the oft quoted opening paragraph. I have often contemplated it.
“Community of Christ,” your name, given as a divine blessing, is your identity and calling. If you will discern and embrace its full meaning, you will not only discover your future, you will become a blessing to the whole creation. Do not be afraid to go where it beckons you to go.
What does that really mean? I once asked an Apostle that question. He looked at me quizzically and said he thought it was obvious. It has never been obvious to me. It was probably while sitting in the sun beside the pool that I began to gain fresh insight about the verse’s meaning.

Your name is your identity. Your name is your calling. This says to me that, first and foremost, we are called to be community, both to each other and to all the people with whom we interact. Are we doing that? How do we go about that?

We are not called to be a closed community, because Section 163 offers ample evidence of the type of community we are called to be. Are our communities open? Are they reaching out to the people who live near? Or are we simply focused on Sunday morning worship, not that there is anything wrong with that, but is that all there is to being community? I think not.

For a congregation to make worship the sole focus of its efforts and ministry is, in my view, misguided. There is nothing wrong with worship unless that is the only thing we do, in which case I think there is something wrong. Can worship alone build community? Can worship alone make us “a blessing to the whole creation?” It hasn’t so far! Is it possible that we need to re-focus on what it means to be the Community of Christ?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. How do we discern and embrace the full meaning of this statement? What would that look like in your congregation? And, in the words of the oft quoted child travelling in a car, “Are we there yet?”

Posted by Carman

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