Romans 15:4-7 and 13 (lectionary text for Dec. 4, 2016)
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God… 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Advent is the beginning of the church year, a season which begins focused on hope. This past weekend the Mission Council of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) listened together to the Spirit to discern a shared mission for Disciples. The Council heard God’s call to continue welcoming all God’s children to the Lord’s Table as Christ has welcomed us, going out into the world to care for Jesus in the person of the most vulnerable, working to address the causes of vulnerability in our culture. We explored how these priorities might be expressed by ministering among children, youth and young adults in our communities.
We rejoiced in the Spirit’s presence in the music of our hearts and the words of our sisters and brothers, particularly those of Dr. Moiseraele Prince Dibeela, PhD, former general secretary of the United Congregational Churches of Southern Africa and now head of Tswang Learning Communities in Botswana. Dibeela’s words of challenge and comfort accompanied us throughout the weekend as we wrestled with the call, focusing on what we heard from the Mission Gatherings and the leading of the Spirit among us.
As we test and share refinements of these priorities with the various boards and ministries of the Church, we are confident God will show us the way to make connections toward wholeness and hope. – Sharon