Manifold Wisdom – Ambassadors
“Ambassadors” – Sermon by Caleb Campbell
How do we find wisdom, guidance, and love to live in a politically toxic world? How do we find wisdom, guidance, and love to live with wisdom and love in the midst of a politically toxic, outraged, anxious cultural moment? That’s what we’re going to explore today. I’m going to invite you, as we study together from Ephesians chapter three and four, just to be thinking about that concept: How do we find wisdom, guidance and love to live wisely and lovingly in the midst of a politically toxic, outraged, anxious cultural moment?
This thought process, for me, is something that not only tethers to scripture, but also tethers a little bit to my history. I want to invite you to meet two of my great, great-times-8 grandfathers. They’re dead.
On the left-side image here you have the grave of William Campbell. William Campbell is one of my ancestors, and I actually got to visit his tombstone. One of my objectives in life is when I’m able to travel to places for school or for work, if any of my ancestors are buried there, I make it a point to drive out and visit. I was able to visit William’s graveside in New York City just a few months ago. William actually was buried in the 1760s. At the church that he’s buried at — the Dutch Reformed Church – twenty years later, there was a trial of Major John Andre, who was one of the British spies who spied on America.
On the right, I’d like you to introduce to one of my other great-times-eight grandfathers. This is Conrad Visa. Conrad was a captain in the Revolutionary War. His grandfather, Joseph Conrad Visa, came to America as a refugee from the Holy Roman Empire. He fought in the French and Indian War and actually served alongside Ben Franklin brokering peace treaties and things like that.
This is just some of my family. Now, I did want to say, you know, there’s other graves I haven’t been to yet, so stay tuned. Hopefully there’s some other cool stuff. But one of the things that I frequently will think about and meditate on as I’ve thought about my family line — many, many of whom were operating either in the colonial era or in the post-Revolutionary era – is that many of them were Christian, or at least they’re buried in Christian cemeteries. I haven’t met them yet, so I don’t know what their faith journey is like with Jesus. But I’m guessing that they participated in church gatherings, just based on the records. And I’ve often thought about this question: How did they apply their faith in the midst of a democratic republic that oftentimes can find itself in a toxic space?
I want you to know — I don’t think this will bring you peace, but at least bring you some context — the tension that we feel now in this particular cultural moment in America, it’s not the first time. It’s not the first time. In fact, one of the things that that I find so fascinating is that there seems to be this cyclical pattern in this democratic republic of ours, where there are seasons where it’s like on a low burn, and then there’s seasons where it’s on a high burn. In fact, some of the people that we generally venerate as leaders or founders of our country — the stuff that they wrote about each is hot fire. Hot fire. And so, I wonder, OK, so how did how did William and Conrad think about their faith in this is this blossoming or this new republic, this new concept, this democratic republic? How did they apply it when you’ve got things like voting? And you’ve got things like election cycles and things like that.
And so, I think frequently about that, and I wonder how they processed their faith in the midst of questions around things like the Louisiana Purchase or things like the concept of Manifest Destiny. How did they think about the difference between a federalized government and a more states-powered government? How did they process the fighting between John Adams, who was a federalist, and then Thomas Jefferson, and the fact that they all called each other names all the time? How did how did Conrad and William live, loving their neighbor in the midst of warfare? How did they do it?
It’s something that I find myself meditating on a lot. And in this particular cultural moment we have a politically toxic, outraged cultural reality. You can feel it driving up Tatum Blvd. Before the primaries there were thousands upon thousands of markers, right? And ads. You guys have seen these things, these political ads. You don’t need to answer this question, but are you encouraged? Right. It’s generally dehumanizing, fearmongering, anxiety-producing content. I mean, just driving up Tatum. I work at a church. I serve the Prince of Peace. I’m driving down the street, and I’m told that if I don’t vote for that person, the whole world’s going to implode. This person’s on the opposite side – oh, what am I going to do? And then there’s my favorite, when people go up and draw little mustaches on people. I want to meet that person. “Hey, man, you’ve got a good mustache game going. I gotta tell you, right?”
And then how do you feel when you’re going to have some family or close friends over, and you know that they’re on the other side? And you say things, you know, you say you’re cooking dinner and you’re thinking, “Oh, this is our family. This is our blood. These are people we love. But here’s what we can’t talk about — boom, boom, boom, boom. Boom because if we talk about these things, we’re going to be raging at each other.”
Let me just ask you a question. What is training us to be outraged at the very people that we love? I find it fascinating. Is it an imbalance? Is that what makes our temporary hold on now — our temporary allegiances to a person running for office who we’ve never met nor will ever meet us — so radically influence us that we’re willing to separate ourselves from our family because they don’t share that same allegiance. And here’s the thing. In this democratic republic, with term limits and stuff like that, the allegiances keep changing. Do our family and friends need to experience this radical division every time we take on a new allegiance? That doesn’t sound wise or loving to me. How about you? OK. Thank you.
OK, so let’s get let’s get after it. So how does Jesus give us a God-filtered wisdom and a spirit-empowered love to live in a politically charged, outraged, anxiety- saturated cultural context?
I invite you, as we study Ephesians chapter three and four. It’s in your handouts. For those joining us online, just go to bible.com, and we’re using the Christian Standard Bible. I encourage you to bring your Bibles, if you have a Bible, regardless of what translation. We’re going to be in Ephesians 3 and 4. In this sermon series called Manifold Wisdom, we’re exploring the nature of the church and — hold onto this — the nature of the manifold, or diverse, or many-colored, or many-faceted — that’s what manifold means — that many-faceted wisdom of God being made known through the church. You’re going to see it in the text today. To put in another way, what’s the role and function of the church? That’s what we’re talking about throughout this whole series, and today I’d like to lean into this concept of how the church is not an institution. The church is an organism. That church is Jesus-followers. How does the collection of Jesus followers engage in a political climate where not only is there a ton of outrage and anxiety, but also there’s a lot of co-opting of the church? What I mean by that is it seems like God is cosigning everybody running for office right now. And I just want to know. Is that Biblical wisdom? Or is that something else?
Now I heard some groans. Which means you’ve watched the end of the movie. So don’t spoil it for the rest of us, but let’s take a look. You guys, come with me. We’re going to be Ephesians chapter three and four. I’m going to jump around just a little bit, but I’ll have the citations up on the screen. Also, I did want to make note this conversation about government and politics. To me, about government, politics, and faith in Jesus, there are a thousand questions, and I want to invite you to text in your questions. On the one of the pages where the notes are, there’s a phone number. What we’re going to do for the duration this series is to invite you to text in questions. They can be directly related to the sermon or the text, or they could be from, like, last week, or something else about faith and religion. And then at 11:00 o’clock, we’re going to gather in here with as many of y’all who want to. I’ll go through and respond to the best of my ability to any question that you send in. At Desert Springs Bible Church, we believe in having Jesus-centered conversations around hard issues. Politics is one of them, and I would love to engage with you on that. Again, we’ll meet back in here at 11:00 o’clock for a sermon question and response. You can just text those questions into that number that you’ll see there.
Also, we’ve got a variety of different classes, some that are currently meeting or starting up here in a couple weeks, like the Rooted group that Dawn mentioned, and you can find more about those 11:00 o’clock classes and studies in your handout. You can notice where and when they start. If you haven’t done Rooted yet, I want to highly encourage you. You’ve got to do Rooted. It is the chef’s kiss.
All right, so let’s get into it.
“This grace was given to me – the least of all the saints – to proclaim to the Gentiles (the ethnos) the incalculable riches of Christ, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.” (Ephesians Chapter 3, verses 8-10)
This is Ephesians chapter 3, verse eight. This grace. So this is the apostle Paul. He’s writing to a church in Ephesus. Oh, by the way, check this out. Ephesus was the third-argest metropolitan area in the Roman Empire. It was bested only by Alexandria and Rome. So Ephesus was this massively successful, militarily powerful, economically-thriving, religiously-saturated, major metropolitan area. Does that sound familiar? And what’s interesting is, in Ephesus, just like maybe today, religion, money, and power often wove themselves together. For instance, in Ephesus, one of the one of the primary gods that they worshipped was Artemis. At the Temple of Artemis, not only would you experience worship in the temple, but you would also experience refuge at the temple. And you know what else they did at the temple of Artemis? Banking. You would bank out of the temple of Artemis. And the coinage, some of the coinage that it was in Ephesus of the day had the goddess Artemis on it. They would call Artemis the savior or the queen lady.
So, if you were a Christian kicking around Ephesus, the idea of power and religion is just everywhere. Paul is writing to a very small group of Jesus-followers living in Ephesus, and he’s trying to give to them a Jesus-centered wisdom so that they might know how to live, in wisdom and love, in this politically charged environment, where religion, power and money are all interwoven. That’s what Paul is writing to the Ephesian church about. Do you think that might have some relevance for us today?
This grace was given to preach … By the way, occasionally I’ll transliterate a Greek word, and it’s for a reason. So, to preach to the ethnicity. That word often gets translated Gentiles or the nation. The reason that I leave it in there is because it very much sounds like a word that we use in English, mainly ethnicity, and it is closer to ethnicity than it is to a geopolitical reality. When we say nation in modern English, usually we think of the nation state as a thing with borders. But ethnicity is generally not as bordered. It’s more like the commonalities that we have with each other, ethnicity — culture, language, food, art, things like that. That’s kind of what makes up an ethnicity. This is all of the peoples of the world, OK? All the ethnos of the world.
What is “the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things?” What’s the mystery? This is the mystery that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known through the church, to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Notice that the apostle Paul is saying to this little house church, this little group of house churches in Ephesus, that the manifold, multi-colored diverse wisdom of God will be put on display through what? The church. Do you see it in the text that the church will put on display the manifold wisdom of God? Do you guys see it there, at the bottom? The rulers and authorities where? You’ve got to ask me this question in the question and response time. Because, I don’t have time for this right now.
Behind any earthly king or ruler, the apostle Paul sees a spiritual king and ruler. This is how the Jewish mind worked. So you’re going to have to deal with that. But he says that those powers — what I would call the kingdoms of this world — were usually united. The kingdoms of this world see the manifold wisdom of God on display through what? Through the church, which is made-up of what? All of the people-groups, all the ethnos. When they’re all bound together with nothing in common except for Jesus, then they put on display the manifold wisdom of God. That’s the job of the church — to be united around Jesus. A bunch of diverse people united around Jesus, putting on display the wisdom of God.
The job of the church is not to govern the state. Hey, I’ve been hearing some folks, and they’ve been saying things like the church should run the government. But that is not the church’s job. If the church takes the posture of running the government, it will no longer be a trans-national entity. Come on, come with me now. If the job of the church is to bring together all the ethnos and, generally speaking, governments — and I’m not saying this is bad, I’m just talking to you neutrally here — and the job of government is to create borders to let some people in and keep most people out, can the church then be the government? It can only lie to itself if it tries to do that.
The job of the church is to preach to all the ethnos. Everyone gets to come in. I’m just talking neutral to you, like this is poli-sci 101. Governments are bordered entities. Is the church a bordered entity? So you can’t have both things. In fact, I would just challenge you. If you want to get weird, after you go home today and read through your whole Bible, pick up a Western civilization history book. Just notice how many times that the government or government power tried to co-opt the church. And tell me how well preserved was the witness of the church? How well was Jesus represented at the end of a sword? Y’all tracking with me so far? If you try to merge the church with Rome, Rome wins and just uses the church to justify its power. So y’all got me preaching, alright. This is the job of the church, OK? Does that mean that Christians should not be involved in government? By no means. Come with me now. I think Christians absolutely should be involved in government, and they should practice love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in their office.
Is the posture of Jesus-follower to reach out and take power so that I can preserve me and mine? Or is the posture of a Jesus-follower to use whatever power the Lord would gift to me through following him by the power of his spirit? Use that power in service of others. And before you answer the question, let me just tell you this: There’s a king in the Bible. His name is Jesus. And King Jesus calls us to follow him. So how did Jesus use his power? To protect his own or in the service of others? The service of others.
Now most of us will say things like, “Caleb, that’s not how the world works.” You’re right!!! That’s why we worship the Risen King and not the kings of this world. Because allegiance to the kings in this world leads to despair and death. That’s why it is — what’s the word? — good news that King Jesus is the eternal king.
So yeah, you’re right, it makes no political strategy sense to live like Jesus, and that is the point. You will not change the world living by the power structures and principles of this world. Nobody will look at that and say, “Wow, you’re really different.”
Alright, let’s keep going. We’re going to make it through, I promise, today. We should, right?
“And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.” (Verses 11-15)
So the job of the church is to put on display the manifold wisdom of God. How do we do that? Well, there’s certain leadership he gave — not leadership, giftings here. Some of those phrases are weird to many of us. Don’t let it be weird. These are just people with different giftings who are called to do this job. Check this out.
What’s the job? Equip the saints for what? There’s that word again. The other word to be translated there is ministry. What’s ministry? And what service is ministry? By the way, when a person says “I’m a minister,” you could just as easily say, “I’m a servant.” It’s just kind of weird to say that right now in American context. So we use minister, right? How long will we do it? Or excuse me, what does that end up building? The body of Christ, that is the church, until we attain the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the son of God — to become a mature person, to the measure of the stature, belonging to the fullness of Christ. What he’s saying here is that we’re to be built within the church, as we’re a bunch of misfits putting on display the manifold wisdom of God, unified around Jesus. We’re revealing the manifold wisdom of God, but we’re also growing in the process. How are we growing? We’re growing into the likeness of whom? We’re becoming more and more like Jesus, as we in good faith give ourselves to one another, as we in good faith allow the spirit to come in and work among us, God will use our differences to shape and to reshape us. If you’re looking for a church family that’s just going to reaffirm your prejudices and commitments, you’re in the wrong joint.
I’m 40 years old. Do you think that I’ve got it? You can answer honestly here; I know you will. Do you think I’ve got it, like totally dialed in, this whole faith and politics thing? Especially those of you who disagree with me about the political implications of my faith. Right, you’re thinking, “I wish you would convert and believe the gospel.” I know, I know. I got. I got it. Thank you.
In our differences, you are going to shape me and I’m going to shape you. Hopefully, if we approach each other with curiosity instead of suspicion, … if we approach one another practicing the fruit of the spirit, that Jesus-centered bunch of misfits, … if we put on display the manifold wisdom of God, and Jesus uses our differences to shape us to be more and more like him so that we will become wise — we will become wise. And if we are wise and anchored in who God is, what’s the result if we’re anchored in Jesus, a Jesus-centered wisdom? The result is that we are no longer tossed around by winds and waves of teaching. Some crafty leader is not going to come in and lead us astray or trick us into doing something that we know is contrary to what Jesus teaches. If we’re anchored, if we’re wise, then we are no longer like children in a boat, in a storm, but we’re anchored to who Jesus is. You guys see in the metaphor here?
There are powers at work constantly throughout human history, and in the year of our Lord 2022 Phoenix, there are powers at work who are trying to knock us around to create anxiety and fear, to demand our allegiance by promising us safety, belonging and purpose so that we will give our money and our power to them. Jesus says be anchored in me. If you’re becoming more and more like me, you’ll be able to withstand this chaos. This chaos — it’s just pounding up against your boat. You’ll be able to withstand the trickery of men, the craftiness and deceitful scheming. Do you think there’s any craftiness and deceitful scheming going around? That should have been like a wholehearted “Amen.”
How are we supposed to behave? Are we supposed to retreat? No, I don’t think so. If I could say so neutrally, government is simply the way that we do our common life together. Like 98% of government is not a bunch of like chaos. Like 90-98% of government is just boring stuff like keeping the roads going. Now I know some of you, when you drive down the roads, you get road range. You get a little anxiety. So we’ll acknowledge that.
But by and large, the majority of government is just the boring stuff, like the sewage system, water-treatment and the electrical grid. It’s how we do our common life together. So let me ask you this question. If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves – in this case, I mean our actual neighbor — should we say, “I don’t want anything to do with government and how it works.” Like, “I don’t want anything to do with clean water. I don’t want anything to do with making sure that you have an electrical grid that makes sure that you don’t die a heat death.”
I believe in government because it’s managing our common life together now. It’s a means of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Maybe you guys are asking, “Well, should I run for office?” I think for some, yeah, maybe. I think for most of us it’s just being aware and using the things God has gifted us with and saying, “Lord, how do you want me to be a servant? How do you want me to do the work of ministry in this community, in this common life together?”
One of the key initiatives that we’re a part of is foster care and adoption. Many of you are currently fostering or have adopted. Do you know how much government is involved in that? A lot. A lot. Do we care about that? Yes, we very much care about that. Now, how are we going to engage there? I think that’s for each of us to discern by the power of the spirit. But our general disposition and my take on the scripture is to look for means of service. And in a democratic republic in 2022, one of the ways that we get to do that is through the political process.
“Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity. Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption.” (Chapter 4, Verses s 25-29)
So the issue isn’t arguing for or abstaining from government, but, rather, it’s the heart and our approach to government. So what should our approach be in this toxic, raging, anxious environment? Check it out. Speaking the truth how? Yeah, so here’s a test. If I speak what I think is the truth, and the person on the other end didn’t feel loved, am I in alignment with this text? Have I lived out this text? No.
And here’s a way to say it. This is the test I run on myself, like a self-scan. Do those with whom I disagree see Jesus in me? Do those with whom I disagree see Jesus in me? My hope is that my opinion or perspective on the truth when I communicate would never blind someone to the glorious love and grace of Jesus as its theme, lived out imperfectly through me. But my temptation is to try to win the argument. But I can win the argument and lose the person. So, so whenever I’m going to speak truth, whatever my perspective, if the other person doesn’t feel loved, I need to go back to the drawing board and say, “OK, maybe, maybe I need to rethink my approach there.”
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects of him. Who is the head, even? Christ. For whom? The whole. I love this — whole, the whole body. How much? When this transnational organism, the body of Christ, being fit and held together by what every joint supplies — meaning everyone’s got a job to do according to the proper working of each individual part — causes the growth of the body for the building up itself in love.
So how does the church grow? When all of us are ministering according to our gifting in unity and love, centered around Jesus, and you want to know how to grow a church? That’s how you grow a church.
All right, let’s keep going. Do you think this has anything to do with the topic today? “The truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are …” — notice this – “members of one another.”
This idea of anger without sin is a new idea, perhaps. Anger is that thing we feel when we want the other person to experience wholeness. I know this is strange for many of us. It’s the passion I feel in my heart if I love you, and you and I are disintegrated. If our relationship is broken, anger is the thing I feel that wants us to be made right, for your benefit and mine, as well.
Rage is when I treat you like an enemy and want your destruction. Got it. So, yeah, be angry. Angry for one another that we could be made whole, that we could see the way of truth more clearly. But don’t sin into rage, treating the other as an enemy to be destroyed. I want to caution you, church. Oh, my goodness, I hear this all the time in political discourse today, dehumanizing enemy-ing language. I mean, think about the rhetoric that we’re hearing. “We need to fight the culture war.” What happens when you fight a war? Somebody dies. Is that really what we’re trying to do here — utterly destroy our neighbor? “We’re going to fight,” right? Think about that language. “We’re going to fight. We’re going to crush them. We’re going to own them. We’re going to destroy them.” Honest to God, is that actually what we’re really trying to do to our neighbor who disagrees with us on policies?
So, we’re going to speak to our neighbor. How? We’re going to speak truth to them. Why? Notice this. “We are members of one another.” We are together. And so we speak the truth to our neighbor because we are members of one another.
“Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t give the devil an opportunity. Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands so that he has something to share with anyone in need. Let no foul language come out of your mouth, but only …” Listen to this … “only what is good for building up someone in need that have any shaping effect on my political discourse.
“Give grace to those who hear, and don’t grieve God Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption.”
“Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” (Verses 31-32)
Forgiving. Why? Why be kind and compassionate, forgiving one another? Because that’s what God has done to us. So, let’s zoom in here, OK? We’re not going to do this by sheer force of will. We’re not just going to will ourselves into this. Here’s my invitation to you in this toxic, anxiety-ridden, raging political climate. How do we show compassion and kindness to one another, forgiving even our enemies, just as Christ forgave us? How do we do that? We turn to the cross. We center our hearts on who Jesus is. We recognize, we remember that we have been enemies of God. But because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross through his death, burial and resurrection — through his finished work, he gives us this great gift of his favor, his delight, his forgiveness, and a reunion with him — not based on what we have done, but based solely on the work that he has done. That’s why they call it grace.
If we center our hearts on who Jesus is and what we have received from him and what he has done for us and what he is calling us to — it is out of that spirit of the living God that indwells with each one of us that we can enter into this rage, this rave, this outraged anxiety-ridden, toxic political culture and actually do something different – like being compassionate, forgiving each other just as Christ has forgiven us, being kind to one another when we speak the truth, which we ought to do, recognizing I want them to feel that I love them as well as hear what I have to say. And we do so when we’re anchored unto the truth of who Jesus is. I want to invite you into that.
In just a moment, we’re going to take communion. When we take of the bread, when we take the juice, we remember the broken body and shed blood of Jesus which was broken and shed for the forgiveness of sin. And in this moment, we have an opportunity to center ourselves in remembering who Jesus is and what he has done.
Do you know that much of this anxiety and rage –do you know what’s actually going on deep within each one of us that brings that out? It’s oftentimes fear. Fear that we’re not going to get, fear that we’re going to lose, fear that the other is going to hurt us. It’s fear. And you know one of the most frequent commands given in scripture? Fear not. In this age of outrage and chaos, I anchor myself, I center myself on the finished work of Jesus Christ. I spend time with Jesus. I try to listen for his spirit operating within me.
I invite you to do that now. So would you please prepare your communion elements that are available in the back of the seat in front of you. If today you’d rather not take communion, that’s totally fine. I would just ask that you would take this moment to be quiet, sit quietly, and consider the things that you’ve heard today. For those of you who are joining us online, would you obtain some elements that represent the body and blood of Jesus?
So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take a moment to reflect. And then I’ll lead us together as a church family in the taking of communion. And in this time of reflection, maybe it’s the time for us for to be thinking about the last week. Perhaps for others, unless it’s simply a time of repentance and confession. Still, for others, maybe it’s a time of pleading with the Lord or seeking his wisdom. Wherever you’re at today, I just want to invite you to use this time as the spirit guides you and to be attentive to the spirit of God, even now, in this moment, recognizing that Christ is present with us right now, in this moment. And so would you reflect and then I’ll lead us in the taking of communion.
(Quiet time follows, then Pastor Caleb prays.)
Let us pray together. Lord Jesus, we know that communion is something that we do together as a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and perspectives, unified, Jesus, in you. And we know that you welcome everyone to your table. In this taking of communion, we recognize that you have called us to live according to the New Covenant in Christ — that we are to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God, practicing his values on Earth, as it is in heaven. Even now, Lord, as we prepare our hearts, we recognize that we often fail in this regard. And so, Lord, we pray and confess that we have not always lived according to your Kingdom. We have often propagated injustice and evil. We have often fostered disunity, factoring, practicing favoritism, elevating our own concerns and preferences over others. Moreover, we have often failed to show hospitality, love and grace. We have often not lived the fruit of your spirit. We confess this before you now. And we repent. We turn from this sin, and we turn back to you, Jesus, knowing that you will never leave us or forsake us. We ask that by the power of your spirit, you would continue to shape us into your image. As we take of this communion today, Lord, we proclaim your finished work on the cross, your death and your resurrection. We cling to you, knowing that you are the one who brings salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, and, in you, one day all will be restored. It’s in your name, Jesus, that we pray.
On the night that Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and he broke it. After giving thanks, he said, “This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Would you take and eat?
In the same way he took out the cup, saying, “This is my blood of the new covenant poured out for you, for the forgiveness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Would you take and drink?
Let us pray together. Lord Jesus, we give you thanks for your grace and your mercy. We pray that by the power of your spirit, you would continue to unify us as a diverse bunch of misfits, bound together not by our common affinities, but bound together by your love and grace, Jesus, made known to us through your death, burial, and resurrection. And in this toxic, outraged, anxious environment that we live in, may we be agents of peace, reconciliation, compassion and kindness. That when we speak truth, as we should, we would do so that all who would hear us would feel loved. Lord, help us to forgive, just as you have forgiven us. We ask these things, Jesus, knowing that you love us and you are powerful to fulfill your promises to us, and so we entrust ourselves to you and to your care. So in your name we pray, Amen.