Last week, I offered an introduction to the whole Church, and our congregation, as a Beloved Community constituted by The Beloved Community of the Holy Trinity. God’s love makes community, it draws people together, it glues disparate people and personalities together in community that shares love with the world. Every Christian congregation is a divinely constituted holy, messy, sacred, flawed community and each of us has been drawn by the Spirit to be here – in this place, at this time.
As we begin to come out of a year of exile and separation due to the pandemic, it is essential for us to join our hearts, hands, minds, and spirit together to reaffirm and reassert that this is indeed My Beloved Community. To reassure each other after a long separation that “I am here for you. I need you to be here for me.”
Affirming one’s commitment to and place in the beloved community was exactly what Nehemiah and Ezra did when after a long exile in Babylon. The people returned not to the Jerusalem that was, but to the ruins that could once again be the holy city. Before they could see walls and a temple rise from the ashes, however, the people needed to come together and say, “We are Judah.” Each had to affirm that this is “My Beloved Community.”
So, let me be the first to declare, “We are Holy Trinity, and this is my beloved community.” I know this because today, we follow Christ’s command to feed the hungry through a food pantry that serves every week; through our gifts to the World Hunger Appeal that just today sent $7,500 to dig a well, buy livestock, establish a community garden, set mosquito nets, vaccinate and feed children in desperate need.
I know that “We are Holy Trinity – God’s beloved community” because as Christ told us to help the homeless, we support Family Promise of Greater Des Moines volunteering to spend a night, bring the food and share with those fighting for a home. We support FreeStore and those women and children fleeing abusive homes to establish new, safe, spaces to live. I rejoice to say this is My Beloved Community.
I know that “We are Holy Trinity – God’s beloved community,” because I see that in response to Christ’s command to “make disciples” we are working to teach the faith and loving service to our young members not because church is a good extracurricular activity, but because it is the foundation of all the other things they will do in life. I rejoice to say this is My Beloved Community.
There are many more signs that we, the people of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, are a beloved community committed to sharing God’s love. As we regather after the long year of exile, it is time to join hands and regather, recommit and affirm that, “We are Holy Trinity. This is My Beloved Community.”
Will you join me?
Tim Olson, Lead Pastor.