The larger Church is rightly criticized when it does something insane like rejecting strangers or people different from the majority. That’s the Church at its worst. The Church at its best is when we are roped together, through thick and thin, as we all try to “climb the mountain.” Living with each other in the Church, or to localize it more, in our church, is a true blessing. This past Sunday our church met on January 1 to begin the new year together. We demonstrated once again how we adhere to that ancient hymn, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”
Part of that binding is our shared history. Some of it has to do with customs and rituals. Certainly, the Bible is a key binding as we share the Gospel. And our own personal experiences of faith have a way of drawing us together when we listen to and respect each other’s journey. John 12:27-36 tells us the Jesus “draws all people” to himself. Think of church in this way…Jesus is the vine and we are his branches.
This year Dayton Ave. Presbyterian Church will be 145 years old. Its core values remain the same: community, diversity, and peace/justice. We are centered on the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ. We know who we are and whose we are. Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a season for everything. As we move along during this interim time, we feel a new season in the life of our church. We remain committed to each other and the unfolding future before us. We are roped together!