Misfits – Community of differents
Caleb Campbell


Church, I am so excited.  I have been thinking about this sermon for over a year, and today we kick off a new series called Groundwork.  We’re looking at the Biblical teachings that are the foundational cores of our values.  To put it in another way, it’s adding a perspective — or a foundation or the ground level, so to speak — of stuff you hear us talking about all the time here at Desert Springs.

Over the last year especially, we have had a bunch of folks, hundreds of folks, who started checking out DSBC.  When they started attending DSBC — and I know that for some of you — you’ve told me that you’re here and you had given up on church.  You had given up on God.  You had given up on following Jesus because of one reason or the other.  But something that this church family did piqued your curiosity.  I heard one guy say he’d been away from church for 20 years.  Something that you’re all doing piqued his curiosity. “I wanted to come and see the dumpster fire,” he said.  Welcome to church.  We’re all about dumpster fires here.

Still others have never been a part of a church family and are checking out Jesus for the first time.  And because of this church family’s perspective, values, and decisions, it was a good fit.  And there are many of you who are still trying to figure out who Jesus is.  Just as Dawn mentioned, we’re so glad that you’re here.  You are free to eavesdrop, so to speak. We love having you as part of our church family, as well.

Still others of you have been a part of our church family for a long time, and others even are meeting Jesus again.  In fact, I met with somebody earlier this year who said that they had been away from following Jesus.  They had met Jesus earlier on in life, and because of some really painful circumstances they had kind of given up.  It was through this church family that they started kind of eavesdropping in again.  This person said to me, “You know, I’d been apart from the church, I’d been apart from Jesus for decades.  But I finally had to come-to-Jesus meeting with Jesus.  And wouldn’t you know, he had me back!”

Church family, that’s the type of church that you are, the type of church that that puts that on display – that proclaims with our attitudes and our actions that anyone who wants Jesus gets Jesus.  And anyone is welcome at His table.

There are some unique things about Desert Springs.  In this series we’re going to try to show our Biblical foundation.  God has wired us in a unique way in a very unique season.  Wouldn’t you guys say that this season is unique?  Anybody finding things to be strange?  God has uniquely wired this church family for a unique mission in a unique time in this mission field to be light — to be ambassadors through our attitudes, our actions, and through our words — to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.  To proclaim the good news that Jesus is the risen King, and so we’re wired a certain way.

We love other local churches.  We know that we are part of one big church, but we also know that each local church is wired uniquely to serve a unique purpose in a unique place in a unique season.   Another way to say it is that we’re weird.  We’re super weird, and here are some of the values that make us weird.

Now the first one is on the front of the handout that you should have received on your way in.  For those of you who are joining us online, you should be able to find that link on our online platform for the study guide.  If not, you can visit d-s-b-c dot church and right there on the front page, under “Groundwork,” you’ll see a link where you can download these study guides.  We’re going to have one for y’all each week.  If anyone needs one, if you could raise your hand.  I think we’ve got a host or two who can run one out.  So if you guys need one of these, raise your hand.

So here’s what we’re going to do.  I’m going to encourage you in three ways.   Number one is to make an intentional decision to study these with us each week for the next five weeks, to read the text and to mark it up.  You’ve got pens in the back of the seat in front of you.  For those of you that are watching online, hopefully you have a digital device in front of you and can make notes.  I want to also encourage you to read these texts throughout the week.

My second encouragement to you is this reflect on the questions that are in there and ask even better ones.  Much of following Jesus is not getting answers to questions but asking better questions.  And so I’m going to encourage you use the questions there for reflection and ask better ones.

And then finally, consider your next step.  Each week we’re going to talk about a foundational principle of our church family.  Just ask that the Lord would reveal to you what your next step is.  We’re not here to prescribe next steps.  But we are here to equip and empower you to take whatever next step God has in store for you.

When I was a kid growing up, oftentimes at mealtimes our parents would make us sit at the table to have dinner.  Now I’m a I’m a dad of four kids.  We tried this once this week.  I love my kids.  I really do.  They’re eleven, nine, five, and two.  And the reason that we tried to do that this week — in fact, we tried it a couple times.  You know, we’re making the meal, setting the table, and everyone is sitting at the table.  The reason that we do this — and the reason that my parents did it to me and many of our parents did that to us — is because we recognize that it’s at the table that our relationship with one another grows deeper.  Oftentimes our celebrations are around tables.  Oftentimes some of the most difficult decisions that we have are around tables.  You see, the table for any family is formative.  You get to know about one another, but you also get to know about yourself and how you’re responding to the other.

But when I was a kid — and my kids do this too … Have you guys ever found that that your children exhibit or mirror back to you your own besetting sins?  Like who taught you that?  Where did you learn that?   So this is what I did, and this is what my children do.  Any time it’s boring, frustrating, confusing, or just downright not what they want to do — you know what the kids do?  You know what I did when I was a kid?  Left the table.   “Well, I gotta go do this, so I’m going to go over there.  I want to go to the TV.  I want to go play video games.  I don’t like this meal.  She hit me.  He said a dirty word.”  Whatever it is, there are myriad reasons to leave the table, aren’t there?

And as a dad and my wife as a mom, do you know what we find ourselves saying every time we do the dinner table?  “Get back to the table.  We know you don’t want that right now.  We know that it’s uncomfortable right now.  We know that you don’t like the food.  We know that you don’t like the person sitting next to you.  Get back to the table.”

Why do we say that?  Because we know that it’s at the table that we’re formed and that our family is formed.  We know more about not only the other person, but we also know more about ourselves.  We know that there’s formation happening at the table, and far more is going on than just consuming food.  We find that there is an emotional and spiritual nourishment that can happen around the table.  That’s why we constantly put up with all the frustration and we say, “Hey, get back to the table.”

And it’s been interesting to me because I find this same thing in Scripture, in fact.  For the earliest followers of Jesus did not gather like this.  Auditoriums were not their primary mode of gathering.  The primary mode of gathering for the earliest followers of Jesus was a meal.  It was at a table.  When we take communion together, we’re doing something that’s been happening for almost 2000 years, where Jesus followers would gather and share a meal.  You see, the centerpiece of their church relationships was not the man with the Bible on the stage.  The center of their relationships — the center of their faith expression, the center of what it meant to be part of a church family for them — was a table.

Now let’s double down on it.  One of the other things that we find in Scripture is that the people who were invited to the table was everybody, which inevitably meant that these tables were diverse.  In fact, it might even be by design that Jesus set up his church to be centered around a table — which is centered around remembering who He is.

And the people around the table are, by design, a diverse bunch.  We talk about diversity a lot in our community and in our culture.  We talk about hearing different opinions and perspectives.  We talk about being open-minded.  We talk about sharing, love and unity with one another.  And diversity is a principle or a value that, as a culture, we love to celebrate, right?

But do we love to practice it?  Oh, it’s one thing to be at a party with people who are different than us.  It’s one thing to be in a worship setting like this with people who are different than us.  But I just want you to take a look at the different people at the table.  Oh, here we have two individuals who may not share similar beliefs as it relates to governance.  Could it at all be possible that these two people would disagree?  Could you ever imagine a moment in culture or society in which these people, simply because of the hats that they wear, might just default to hating each other?  Could you imagine that?

Could you imagine a scenario in which the rich and the poor hate each other by default?  Could you imagine that ever happening?  Could you ever imagine a scenario in which those who have certain views on use of power and force might just default to hating others who have certain views on use of power and force?  Could you ever imagine that happening?  Could you ever imagine people who love God — Orthodox, faithful Christians who love the Lord and their neighbor—hating, rightfully so, evil, sinful people?

You see in all of the diversity — in all of the space between us, in all of the differences — there is not only an opportunity for a beauty, but there’s also an opportunity for what?  For sinning against each other.

And what it might be like if you were at a table like this all the time with the same people.  And you are encouraged to be your true self in this space.  Could you imagine how it might become difficult to maintain fellowship at the table?  This is a feature, not a bug.  Jesus has intentionally designed His table like this.  And I’d like to argue this from Scripture because I believe that Jesus has intentionally designed misfits to gather around his table in order to elevate his glory — to put on display the good news that He’s the risen King.  And to mature us through the other, there is a gift when we can commit to sitting at tables like this.

I’m going to read Colossians 3 one through 17.  You can follow along.  It’s printed in your handout or if you have a Bible, please follow along with me.  And I want you to have your ears attentive to what’s being said here and imagine that this as being written to a church family that gathers consistently around tables like this.  Y’all with me so far?  So we’re gonna imagine that it’s being written to a church looking like this.  Here we go.

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature –sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them.  But now put away all of the following — wrath, malice, slander and any filthy language from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self.  You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your creator.  In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free.  But Christ is all and in all.  Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.  If anyone has a grievance against another, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.  And above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity, and let the peace of Christ to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you and in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs –singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do in word, or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him.”  This is the word of the Lord.

Why is the author, whose name is Paul, writing this to a diverse church in a place called Colossae?  What do you think is happening amongst the people there?  They’re arguing.  They’re dividing.  They’re divided, and they’re fighting with one another.  They’re probably slandering one another.  Do you think they might be lying to each other?  So you’ve got to ask yourself the question when you read the text:  Why is this being written?  What was the occasion for the author, who’s a pastor — why is Pastor Paul writing this letter?

Well, it’s extremely likely … Don’t you think that the reason that he’s writing the letter is because they’re doing the stuff that he mentioned?  Why are they doing that to each other?  Because they’re misfits.  Because they’re misfits, they don’t fit together.  Have you guys ever tried to put a puzzle together?  If the pieces don’t line up — but you’re angry and bitter that you have to be putting a puzzle together.  And you’re thinking, “Let’s get this over with.”  And they kind of fit together and you think like you could make them fit together.  Inevitably what happens when you try to put the two things that don’t fit together together?  There’s friction, pressure, tension, and occasionally brokenness.  We’re misfits, we don’t just fit together.  All of the rough edges have to be shaved off in order to make it fit.

You see, we’re bound together, but we don’t fit together.  So what is it that binds us together on the front cover?  This is something that we say a lot.  We are a bunch of misfits bound together by the love and grace of God made known to us through Jesus.  We are a bunch of people who don’t fit together but who are bound together by what power?  The love and Grace of God made known to us through Jesus, and there’s some sort of design that He has in mind.

But notice in the text verse 11, the author is sick.  He’s addressing a diverse group of people who obviously are backbiting and gossiping and lying, right?  They’re falling into their old selves.  And he says this … Remember in verse 11 “in Christ there is not” — notice the language – “Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free.  But Christ is all and in all.”  What’s the author saying?    Is he saying that all of those things about us simply disappear?  By no means.  The author himself still continues to refer to himself as a circumcised Jew.  He would never refer to himself as a Greek.  He recognized that Jesus was a circumcised Jewish male.

What the author is arguing here, he’s saying all of these things that divide you, they are not your status.  They are not your status.  You see here in this text.  So I want you just to imagine, could these things be reasons that people have conflict and division?  Let’s take a look back in the text.  Look at verse 11 in Christ.  “There is not Greek and Jew.”  Do you think that there is such a thing as ethnocentrism?  Or in America, we might be more familiar with the term racism, where one group of people, based on their ethnicity or race, value themselves, or view themselves as better than others.  Could you imagine that ever happening?

At the time of this writing, one of the biggest divisions was between Greek and Jew.  Imagine a Greek and a Jew sitting at the table.  Might they have a disagreement or two?  Circumcision and uncircumcision?  Now I was going to make a joke here, but I cut it out.  Yeah, this is about religious devotion in the Jewish tradition.  It was about how they practiced their religion.  Could you imagine there ever being a group of people who think they’re better than other people because of how they practice their religion?

Now let’s get to it.  There’s also no barbarian or Scythian.  These are maybe difficult for us to understand, but these are uncivilized, violent outsiders who are scary.  A Scythian could be considered maybe a boogeyman.  Gotta, gotta worry about the Scythians coming to get you.  Could you ever imagine one people group demonizing another people group in such a way that they simply become the epitome of evil?  “Them, those are the people that are gonna get you!”  And here Paul is saying, “Hey, you know what?  There’s a Scythian and a barbarian among you.“  He drives it further — and there is no slave or free.  He’s not saying that these things are meaningless.  He’s not saying that these things are not real.   He’s simply saying that those definitions, those things about you are not what give you your status in front of God.  Therefore, do not use those differences to cause division, because you are in Christ.  The reason these things create division among you is because you’re keeping your mind on earthly things.  I have my mind on earthly things, and the earthly culture says as long as I’m this, I’m somebody.  And so I hate or despise or fearmonger against those who are different than me.

But if my mind is of Jesus, if my if my life is wrapped up in Christ, then the differents at the table that I sit at, they can’t take anything from me as it relates to my worth, my dignity and my values.  So I don’t have to be afraid of people who are different than me.  I don’t have to approach every different-than-me person with suspicion. Now, it may be that they have done something that causes me to be suspicious.  But I don’t have to approach everything that’s different than me with suspicion because my life is wrapped up in Christ.  This is what Paul is saying.

Look at verse five through seven through nine.  “Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed.  Because of these, God’s, wrath is coming upon the disobedient.”  And “You once walked in these things when you were living in them, but now put away all of the following — anger, wrath, malice, slander, filthy language from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old self.

Again, why is the author sharing this?  Because that’s what they’re doing to each other. I shared this one or two weeks ago: I make everyone who’s part of Desert Springs a 100% guarantee. I one-hundred percent guarantee this, you ready?  This is my 100% guarantee:  My 100% guarantee is that you will be sinned against by people in this congregation, and I’ll probably be the worst.  Because we’re a bunch of differents, and we don’t sit together naturally — which means we’re gonna offend each other.  We’re gonna confuse each other.  We’re gonna frustrate one another.  We’re gonna say things out of turn.  We’re gonna unintentionally be offensive —and sometimes we’re gonna intentionally be offensive.  Sometimes we’re gonna do something that the other person perceives as unloving or unkind.  And I’m not — listen to me — I’m not talking about toxic and abusive behavior.  I’m simply talking about the normal day in and day out being offended because the other person is different than me.  I guarantee it.

How can I make you that guarantee?  Look around the room.  You’re all weird.  Some of you philistines like country music.  What’s the matter with you?  Some of you have different political views and ideologies than I.  Why are you so wrong?

Some of you, when we both look at the same text in Scripture, come at it from a totally different angle and see it in a way that I can’t even see.  And so, we make this 100% guarantee — and I just want to say this to you — just expect that as you are your true self with other Jesus followers who their true selves—expect it, but don’t look for it.  Don’t go around looking to be offended.  Just expect that we’re not perfect and we’re going to sin against each other most of the time.  We don’t even do it intentionally.

But here is the gift — verse 12 and 13.  “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved … “  *** TV Time out***

I want you to look me in the eye — I know this is weird.  Do you know that you are dearly loved by the King and Creator of the universe?  What would it be like to live recognizing every moment of every day that I am dearly loved by Jesus?  He loves you more than you can ever imagine.  And in light of that — notice what the author says – “Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another.  If anyone has a grievance against one another — just as the Lord has also forgiven you, so also you, too, are to forgive.”

Now here’s the gift. When we commit to one another to stay at the table — to come back to the table even when we get offended, even when we disagree, even when we get angry — when we stay committed, we come back to the table and we pursue the conversation because we recognize Jesus dearly loves me, and so I can be with this different person.  I can be with this person.  There’s a distance between us, and I can put on compassion and humility and kindness.  And I can forgive, just as Jesus forgave me.  Here’s the gift.   As we practice the gospel … did you notice what Paul said in the text?  “Forgive one another just as …” ,?  Just as Jesus forgave you.  That’s good news, and we’re practicing it when we forgive one another.  We’re practicing the good news of the gospel.  Not only does our forgiving of one another showcase the gospel, but it also shapes us more into the image of Jesus.  There’s a gift waiting for you in that committed relationship with others — to go back to the table and show compassion, humility, grace to forgive.  If anyone has grievance, in that space, we practice the gospel.

We behave like Jesus, and in so doing, there’s this wonderful thing that begins to happen in behaving like Jesus in that space of different.  We begin to become more like him.  I’m convinced that one of the marks of a mature Jesus follower is that they don’t get offended.  That they’re not easily wronged.  And that they can tolerate a great distance between them and those with whom they’re in relationship with.  And I’d like to just prove it to you by asking you to do some homework.  Go look at the life of Jesus and look at who he sat at tables with.  I guarantee that you and I would be very uncomfortable with some of those people if they were at our table.

I’ve seen this in practice.  A year and a half ago, absolute chaos, right?  For anyone who was leading in that time, it was just such an uncertain time.  And then we had, you know, we had a global pandemic and we had political strife, too.  And I remember hearing a different perspective.  There was a moment where I was caught up in it.  I was with two of our elders — Arthur, who is from India and Nicholas, who is from Kenya.  I was kind of bemoaning the political climate.  You know what they shared with me?  How Jesus had worked in their previous homes in India and in Kenya.  And they shared how God had brought the faithful to the church, in situations that are worse than the one that I was going through at that time.  It was such an encouragement to me.  It was a gift that was only available to me, because of both Nicholas and Arthur who serve as elders here, because of their commitment to sit at table with me as a different.  They had a gift for me in that difference.

One of the things that we notice, because we’re a bunch of misfits, is that issues that we talk about hit us differently, don’t they?  As a church family over the last year and a half — actually over the last many years — we go hard on certain issues like ageism, racism, sexism, nationalism.  We go after hard on issues like gender and sexuality, abuse and assault, greed and money and power, and sex.  There’s really not an issue that we won’t look to the Scriptures and strive to find a Jesus way through them, because we believe that Jesus is for all of life.

But that means that we have hard conversations.  And because we’re a bunch of misfits, those conversations hit us differently, don’t they?  There’s a gift waiting for us as we go after those issues.  As we try to look at the Jesus way and apply it in this context, we get to shape each other by sharing the different views and the different opinions.

For those of you that are Christians, I’m going to do a little something I have heard many Christians say.  How, especially over the last year and a half, how is it possible that any Christian could believe?  How is it possible that any Christian could think that?  Do you want to know what my encouragement to you is?  Go find a Christian that thinks that and sit at table with him for a long time.  That’s the answer, right?  The answer is not tweet at them.  And here’s the other thing, too.  The answer is also not just listening to people who are just like you.  Too often we learn about people who are different than us from people just like us.

Let’s go visit a table.  Which news channel does this person watch?  Don’t say it out loud.  Which news channel does this person watch?  Don’t say it out loud.  This person in this cultural context is learning everything about this person from people who wear the same hat.  And this person is learning everything that they know about this person from people who wear the same hat. But the same goes here.  Too often we learn about people who are different than us from people who are just like us.

The gift at the Jesus table is that we don’t have to remain stuck in this endless loop and cycle of sameness.  We get to learn about each other.  And in so doing — here’s the other gift –we get to behave like Jesus in those moments of tension, frustration, disappointment, anger and sadness.  And we get to show one another compassion and grace and humility.

Oh boy, I’m going to say something.  Some people are not going to like it.  Welcome to the table.   I don’t think you should read your Bible alone.  Now, I don’t mean never.  I think it’s good to read your Bible alone sometimes.  It’s not written that way.  It’s written for you to engage in the context of community.

I’m going to give you two questions that I I want to encourage you to ask.  I stole these from from Kara Powell and Kairis doll.  These are modified questions that I picked up from them.  When you read the Bible, or when you talk theology, or when you talk about Jesus — I encourage you to ask these questions.

Number one:  What do you believe that you think I don’t believe?  By the way, if you’ve got teenagers, these are great conversation starters.  What do you believe that you think I don’t believe?  Or you could flip it, right?  What do you think I believe that you don’t believe?

Here’s a second question:  What’s something that you thought you knew that it turned out later you were wrong about?  What’s something that you thought you knew that it turned out later you were wrong about?

I’m going to do a real quick exercise.  Let’s take rich and poor.  And let’s have them reading the prodigal son.  And story of the prodigal son, just real quickly … A son goes to his father — he’s the  youngest son.  He goes to his father he says, “I want my inheritance now.”  He takes the father’s inheritance and goes away to a foreign land.  He spends all of his money foolishly.  And there’s a famine in the land, and no one is there to help.  And so the younger son ends up eating pods out of the pigpen, and he thinks, “I’ll go back to my dad and be a hired servant.”  And so he goes back to his father.  And the beautiful point of the parable is that the father runs out and receives him back.

Reading that from my perspective as well as from a citizen of one of the most affluent states and the most affluent nation in the world, I’m going to read that differently than those who are not of that context.  In fact, there is a research study done where a theologian read the parable of the prodigal son to a bunch of American college students.  And then he asked them to retell it.  Then he went to one of the old Russian satellite nations, where most people are living in poverty and have in living memory what it was like living under the USSR.  Same story, same exercise.

The American college students — almost none of them related back that there was a famine in the land.  All of them relayed back that the son had squandered his money on foolish living.  Over in the old Russian satellite nation, very few talked about the squandering of money, but what they said was there was a famine, and no one was there to help.

See, I don’t think we do ourselves a lot of good when we only read the Bible alone.  But when we read the Bible together with a fellowship of differents, it truly comes alive.  So I would encourage you if you’re not currently in a context in which you can have a discussion and even disagreement about the Biblical text, now is your opportunity.  As Dawn mentioned a moment ago, we have these “Rooted” groups that are starting up.  Even in the context of Rooted, there are different perspectives.  In fact, the Rooted curriculum was written by a church out of Africa.

And I just I have to share this story.  When COVID hit my group, we were on week six.  This was March of last year, and my group was on week six.  I’d like to read you the title of that week ‘s study.   Are you ready? “Ministering in Chaos” by Camille and Esterna Toto, sharing their story of how they ministered in Goma, the DRC, and how God had been faithful under an evil warlord and a very oppressive regime.  That was a gift.

By listening to and being in relationship with those who are different, we can broaden our perspective about who God is.  You see, we are a bunch of misfits bound together by the love and grace of God, made known to us through Jesus.  Did you notice in the text, too?  Look at verse 16.  And I want to encourage you in this looking at 16.  Let the word of Christ what?  Tell me.  Dwell richly what?  Not as isolated individuals.  “Dwell richly among you in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another through the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

I want you to notice something, and I want to encourage you in this.  Every week we sing.  Some of us do.  Don’t act like I don’t know.  If you’re a follower of Jesus, I want to encourage you to sing, and here’s why.  Not only we were singing to God, but we are also singing to each other about the goodness of God.  When we sing, we’re reminding each other.  Did you see it in the text?  What did it say?  Let the word of Christ, what?  Dwell among you richly.  What is the format that that takes place in?  Psalms, songs, hymns, spiritual songs.

It must have been in 2016, right there, sitting about five seats apart from each other was a person with a MAGA shirt and a person with a DACA shirt.  And they were singing the same song in the same direction.  And my hope and prayer is that that distance between them would produce many gifts that elevate the gospel and that grow them more and more into the likeness of Jesus.  But that only happens if we come back to the table.

The reasons that we leave the table are easy to recognize.  You look at any family meal, and you’ll find it’s uncomfortable.  “They made me mad.  They looked at me funny.  They spit on me.”  But there’s a gift:  If we come back to the table — and through consistent rhythms of engaging in the Scriptures together with one another and letting the Word of Christ dwell richly among us — as we sing together and have fellowship together — I believe that by the power of the Spirit we will find ourselves made more and more into Christ’s image than if we go it alone.

I’m going to ask the band to come out and for those of you in the room to pull out the communion elements that are available in the back of the seat in front of you.  For those of you who are joining me online, if you would please grab elements of bread and wine or juice or crackers or whatever you have to represent the body and blood of Jesus.  I’m going to ask that you would just take a moment and that you would examine your hearts that you would reflect on these things.  Then I’ll come back and lead us in the taking of communion.  Would you reflect on this truth — that we are bound together by the love and grace of God made known to us through Jesus?

As we take communion together, I want to encourage you to do so in full appreciation of this bunch of misfits that you’re with.  When we take of the bread and of the juice, we do so, recognizing our union with God, but also our unity with one another.  As a bunch of misfits bound together by the love and grace of God made known to us through Jesus, we engage in the taking of communion, remembering him, remembering that he has brought us together to make us more like him.

On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and He broke it.  Giving it to His disciples, 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 up the cup and said, “This is My blood, poured out for you for the forgiveness of sin.  Do this in remembrance of me.”   Would you take and drink?

Lord Jesus, we know that You love us, that You have forgiven us, and that You call us to love and to forgive one another.  We pray by the power of your Spirit, that You would embolden us, equip us, and empower us to do just that.  As you have bound us together so that we would not hate our differences, but rather celebrate an opportunity to grow.  That we would approach one another, not with suspicion, but curiosity.  And that we would, we would be a people who put on love and not only proclaim the good news, but also practice it.  Jesus, we ask these things, knowing that You love us and You’re powerful to bring them about.  And so we entrust ourselves to You.  Amen.  ###