Savoring the Feel of Home

1 01 2014
David R. Brock

David R. Brock

David R. Brock,
presiding evangelist

Will you celebrate with me (and all readers and writers of the Herald) my “week in the life of Community of Christ” and ways Christ’s mission is becoming ours? Yes, I know we aren’t there yet. Yes, I know the struggles and the conflicts. I know the data and the statistics that worry and wear. And, yes, I know I’m called from complacency by words of counsel highlighted in these pages.

I am called to go deeper, to live more on the adventurous edge of risk and trust. But, please savor with me a few experiences of eight days of mission I saw and touched, heard and tasted.

The first Sunday was the final day of a mission center conference. Superb! New hymns from Community of Christ Sings, a provocative sermon by the apostle, sacraments of ordination and Communion, an address by the director of ecumenical ministries in a large city nearby, fresh images (shared by the mission center president the day before) of congregations in mission.

The next Sunday, 2,000 miles away, I listened to a choir sing “Amazing Grace” inside a geodesic-domed sanctuary. Beautiful! During the service I read a just-received e-mail from Apostle Andrew Bolton about typhoons in the Philippines and India that wreaked havoc on so many members of the human family, including our own Community of Christ. Prayers of concern were offered for them and for individuals and families known by name—some in our midst.

At the potluck, amid banter about American football and good-natured teasing that happens in healthy communities, I talked with youth anticipating International Youth Forum 2014, with women making cards for soldiers who wouldn’t be home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and with two men whose work took them to China and Mexico. I met people I knew and made connections to members around the international church. I love that feel of “home.”

Traveling with colleagues to the congregation that morning, I learned about a growing relationship with Chinese students who are part of our campus ministry program, about a surprise birthday party the day before, cooking classes, a weekly meal, and leaf raking, all wrapped in the feeling of family in a country far from home.

Midweek, I participated (and partook!) in “Hot Dog Wednesday” at a congregation in an ethnically and economically diverse community. It takes money and time, but it brings neighbors (lots of them!) together where there are few opportunities for community connections. It unites Community of Christ members in one of several ministries, including a computer lab, sewing circle, and a new ministry, “Open Table: From Poverty to Wholeness” (for more information visit http://onwardCofChrist.org).

The same week, in that same building, 50 ministers gathered for three days of formation on the ministry of the evangelist. We’ve been in settings where quality conversation happens. Wisdom is shared, testimonies recounted, probing questions asked. We know sacred spaces where vulnerability to each other and to God offers a glimpse of our true selves and of what the human experience was intended to be.

It is hard to put into words, so we put it to music and express it in action and symbol. A quartet sings us into the reign of God for just a few minutes. Two elders, in the stead of Jesus, “lay [their] hands gently upon us” (CCS 545, Carey Landry) and healing seeps into cell and sinew, soaking into our soul.

Christ’s mission is happening in your life, in your congregation. See it and celebrate it. This Sunday. Then (CCS 390, Frederick M. Smith), “Onward to Zion, faithful and strong. Zion the beautiful beckons us on!”

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