for the Fourth Sunday - 30 March 2014 by by Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
No matter what our chronological age might be, many of us are probably still trying to make sense of our lives -- to answer the proverbial question, Who will I be when I grow up? The global movement of MCC and our congregations are also beginning to engage the question, What is it that God is calling us to become and to do as 21st century people?
As though in response to our questions, the lectionary for the 4th Sunday in Lent presents four scripture texts for our reflection and consideration. The text from 1 Samuel 16:1-13 tells of Samuel's search for a new king of Israel. Psalm 23 reminds us of God's constant presence with us, even when we are in the midst of our deepest fears. John 9:1-41 presents Jesus as the light of the world, within the context of a transgressive healing story. Then Ephesians 5:8-14 calls all of us out to live as children of light.
This is the one. 1 Samuel 16:12b
I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4b
I am the light of the world. John 9:5
Everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:13b
From the moment of the birth of Metropolitan Community Churches, God claimed us as God's own and said, "This is the one." This is the newborn Body of Christ that can heal the broken world. As diverse peoples from every nation, this is the one that can embody my unconditional love, break down walls of exclusion, and bring forth justice and peace.
MCC has gone through a lot of trials and tribulations through the years, and God has been with us every step of the way. When we were hiding in closets of shame, God led us out toward reconciliation of our sexuality and our spirituality. When our families rejected us and we were excluded from other communities of faith, through God's grace, we created a beloved community that offers an Open Table where all people can find a place. Even when AIDS and other forms of disease ravage our bodies, God gives us the strength to overcome even as we offer comfort, consolation, and care. We have come, and are coming, through all of that and so much more. As we now look toward the future, we have no fear, for we know that God is still with us.
MCC is illuminated by the light of Christ, and the spirit of Christ shines through us. This means that even today we are the light of the world. We are still a strong beacon of light that breaks through the darkness of ignorance and fear. We illuminate pathways to wholeness, holiness, and healing. We brighten the hopes of people seeking to begin a relationship with God and the aspirations of people yearning to be free from discrimination and oppression. Just because we exist, people can pursue their life purpose, the world can find its way to justice, and all of us can know peace.
As wonderful and life-giving as MCC is, we cannot allow it to come about that tomorrow our light will have been overshadowed by the accomplishments of our past. We were not created to continue being who we were in former years. God is calling us now to transform ourselves into who God created us to become -- an embodiment of God's unconditional love that perpetually breaks down walls of exclusion and brings forth justice and peace.
While the needs of God's people for acceptance and love are enduring, the world in which MCC ministers has changed considerably since we began in 1968. The future is not behind us; it is not even right now. God is calling us to a future that lies ahead. MCC recently adopted a new statement of vision that articulates who God has called us to become:
Metropolitan Community Church is compelled by an unfinished calling and a prophetic destiny.
We are a global movement of spiritually and sexually diverse people
who are fully awake to God's enduring love.
Following the example of Jesus and empowered by the Spirit,
we seek to build leading-edge church communities
that demand, proclaim, and do justice in the world.
The MCC Governing Board, Council of Elders, and Senior Leadership Team are gaining great clarity about what is needed from us in order to lead our movement closer toward this vision. We are as focused as a laser beam in pursuit of this vision. Yet YOU are the one for which the world still waits.
My hope is that each MCC congregation and, indeed, every member of MCC, will also pray and focus on our collective vision. Cast your light right where you are to see the things you can do that will transform our global vision into your local reality. And fear not. God will be with you in everything that you do to become a leading-edge church community that will demand, proclaim, and do justice in the 21st century world.