Newsletter - Chips Off The Rock - May 2019
July again! We will soon be mesmerized by the fireworks and cookouts associated with July the 4th. Independence Day! A celebration of that moment in our history when our political ancestors decided to break loose from the king of England. The Continental Congress voted on July 2 but the declaration did not become effective until July 4. Thus our excuse to sit on a blanket and watch loud booms in the sky. The most famous part of that document states: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
“All men are created equal” sounds inclusive to our ears. Back in 1776 we know that language excluded women and slaves and indentured servants and probably anyone who did not own land. Perhaps the authors intended us to struggle with the words’ meaning. Nevertheless, a civil war and decades of women’s suffrage has helped us to hear our founding document in new ways.
The enlightenment concept of equality is not really a biblical theme. Our spiritual ancestors who wrote the New Testament intended something more for us than equality. In Galatians 3:26-29 the Apostle Paul states: In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Mimi Haddad writes: To be one in Christ as Jew and Greek, slave and free, and male and female is to become a new creation which experiences a new realm of existence that ultimately conquers not only death, but also sin and prejudice. In other words, Galatians 3:28 is the highest expression of individual and therefore corporate renewal. Being clothed in Christ makes us one body, harmonious in Jesus despite the hostilities arising because of our physical selves and their social privileges. Rather, the eyes, ears, hands and feet of the church are both Jewish and Greek, they are both free and enslaved, and they are both male and female. Galatians 3:28 promotes not sameness of race, class, or gender but sameness of new life: a new race of people are born of the Spirit and are therefore no longer divided by social or economic hostilities.
The Church of the Brethren recognizes the oneness of women in the ministry of the church. That is why we have so many ordained sisters in our congregation. Maybe we should think about those among us who are enslaved or of different races as also being one with us.
Minutes for Mission
June 2, 2019 – Rhonda Dorn highlighted the Church of the Brethren’s Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Ministries.
This COB initiative assists with childcare in areas affected by disasters so that parents can concentrate on paperwork. It also provides trauma-care for the children.
Brethren Disaster Ministries often remains past the initial weeks following a disaster to provide additional assistance with rebuilding and other needs.
Anyone interested in volunteering with part of this ministry can learn more from Rhonda.