The past week has been a difficult and unusual time for all of us. In the post-election days, the outlook and emotions of individuals range from one end of the spectrum to another. A number of individuals have shared their thoughts with me. Some are appalled while others are thrilled by the election outcome. Wherever you fall on that continuum, remember that first and foremost our allegiance is to Jesus the Christ who called us to follow him, and as such, a political election does not change who we are as individual believers. It does, however, give cause for us to examine our lives and consider how we respond to those who hold different views and have different feelings about the election outcome.
Almost twenty years ago, Southside Baptist Church adopted, as part of our mission statement, the phrase, “Building an Inclusive Community of Grace.” Even without the mission statement, we know that Jesus taught and demonstrated how we are to relate to one another. His teachings in the Beatitudes speak to how we view and relate to God, ourselves and others. Later, the new commandment Jesus gave to his disciples, “to love one another even as he has loved us,” embodies a great reversal in human inclinations. We are recipients of God’s grace, his “unmerited favor;” and therefore, how we relate to all people, and especially other believers, can only be fully understood in light of his grace. We must not only speak the words of Jesus’ new commandment, but live them daily and in doing so we will move closer to understanding and practicing the words of the prophet Micah.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Tomorrow, November 8, is election day across the nation, a fact of which everyone is surely aware. Votes will be cast tomorrow to elect individuals to offices that range from the the highest office in the land, down to offices of local government in small towns and counties that are sparsely populated. The rhetoric of this campaign cycle, especially as it relates to the presidential election, has been extremely divisive. In some situations, this has caused rifts between longtime friends, family members and even fellow church members. Realizing this and sensing a need to affirm that as Christians, regardless of our opinions, we are united in Jesus Christ, some local ministers organized an Election Day Communion Service.
The service will take place tomorrow, November 8, in the sanctuary of Baptist Church of the Covenant from noon until 1:00 p.m.
Occasional prayers and readings from Scripture, quiet organ music and periods of silence will be included in the service. Anyone of any church or denomination is welcome to take Communion at any time during the hour. You are welcome to stay for as long or as brief a period as you like. I will be serving Communion in the service from 12:25 to 12:45 and would be very pleased to serve you. I hope you will consider participating in this service which focuses on Christ alone and the bond we share through him.
Baptist Church of the Covenant is located at 2121 University Boulevard in Birmingham, Alabama. For additional information about the church, telephone 205-328-0644 or click here. Please feel free to invite your friends and co-workers to attend the Communion Service with you.
Dr. Roxburgh will lead a study this evening entitled “Christianity for the 21st Century.” In a time when we are inundated with more information than one can possibly process while also striving to be true to our faith and relevant to the culture and world around us, such a study and discussion is of utmost importance. I hope you will be present to participate in this study and discussion which immediately follows the weekly Fellowship Supper and Prayer Time.
Worship this Sunday will include the celebration of Holy Communion and a time of remembrance for all the saints who have gone before us, with special attention given to those of our church family lost in the past year. I look forward to gathering with you tonight and Sunday, as together we worship the one true and living God expressing with deep devotion our gratitude for the love, mercy and grace we know through Jesus the Christ.
Sometimes you can’t make it on Sundays mornings, or you really want to hear that service again in the middle of the week…Not to worry! All Sunday mornings, and some special events, are available on our website from wherever you are. You’ll never miss out on another wonderful homily or uplifting choral anthem again!
Believe it or not, it’s time again to begin work on our Annual Advent Devotional Guide. The theme for Advent this year is taken from Isaiah 9:6, and the focus will be on one of the four references to the Messiah, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Please let Marilyn Shepard know by November 11 if you would be interested in writing a short devotional.
All Saints Day, November 1, is the day on which the lives of all the Christians who have gone before us are remembered and their lives celebrated. Each and every Christian living today owes a great debt of gratitude to a multitude of individuals, some known and some unknown, that contributed to her or his introduction to the Gospel. Some of those were great spiritual leaders with very visible roles in shaping the Christian faith; while others quietly, almost without notice, diligently lived out their faith touching lives with the gospel in their daily routine of living. Each one of these, regardless of their station in life, is a saint. Throughout the year, there is an occasional remembrance of them, but on All Saints Day, there is a compelling call to remember and celebrate those whom God used to shape our faith, both the whole of the Christian faith, and our individual and personal faith. Reflecting on all those saints who have gone before, most of us recall those who were close to us. Perhaps, they were family members, friends, leaders in the local church, but whatever the case, they had a profound influence on us and our understanding of our faith in Jesus the Christ who called us to follow him. In Hebrews 12: 1-2, we find these words:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
That great cloud of witnesses, those named in Hebrews 11, and all the other believers who have gone before us, passed on to us a legacy of opportunities and responsibilities to live a life worthy of our calling.
It is a reminder that God is always at work around us, in us and through us and a reminder that God grants us the privilege of a grand journey in living our lives.