Easter 4

 “Let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead” (Acts 4:10). 

The idea of community is not unique to the church. Community is experienced in many places and in many forms. We experience community with our neighbors on our street. We experience community with the other parents in our kids’ schools. We experience community with our fellow co-workers and classmates. We experience community in the various clubs and groups of which we are apart. Yet, the community we experience in the church is a unique community—a community that is set apart from all the other forms of community we experience. The church community is the community built and grounded on the confession that Jesus of Nazareth is, indeed, the Messiah, the Christ, our Lord and Savior, God. 

Whenever and however the church gathers, this singular confession is our center and our reason for being. When we gather to worship, we gather around the confession that Jesus is the Christ. When we gather for Bible Study and fellowship, we gather around the confession that Jesus is the Christ. When we gather together to share a meal or when we gather for youth group, we gather around the confession that Jesus is the Christ. When we gather for meetings or for service projects, we gather around the confession that Jesus is the Christ. This confession—that Jesus is God—is what defines us. It is the confession by which we both live and die. 

This weekend, we celebrate the baptism of Jordan Timothy Dorsey as Jordan is baptized into this confession of faith. Baptism is our entrance into the community that confesses that Jesus, the crucified and risen one, is God. It is the confession that, by God’s Holy Spirit, will define how little Jordan, together with all the baptized, will live his life. 

This weekend, we also celebrate with 11 of our young disciples as they receive their First Communion. Holy Communion is the community’s meal, the meal of those who confess that Jesus is Lord. As we eat the bread and drink the wine, God’s Holy Spirit makes us participants in this confession. In the words of St. Paul, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Eating the bread and drinking the cup is a matter of life and death. In so doing, we become participants in Christ’s own death and resurrection, confessing with our lives that Jesus is, indeed, our Lord. 

In this community—the community of the church—we confess that Jesus, the crucified and risen one, is our Lord. By this confession alone, this community lives and dies and lives again. Alleluia! 

Becoming NEW +