“Let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors,
for we are members of one another.”
Ephesians 4.25We are members of one another. We understand that. We appreciate that. We try to live by all that it implies. And truth be told, it is a powerful truth – "members of one another."
Because we are members of one another, there is a bond that unites us no matter what, a bond rooted in the understanding that we are united, in our experience of community, in an undeniable connection rooted in our faith in Christ.
Because we are members of one another, it makes it very difficult when find ourselves at odds with one another. And – let’s be honest -- those times do arise. I am not just talking about our current consideration of becoming an Open and Affirming congregation, although that is definitely something that makes us extraordinarily thoughtful. Part of the reason for the energy we have invested in those considerations is precisely because we are members of one another.
We also understand this truth about being “members of one another” in a larger context. The first Sunday after Hurricane Katrina struck, one of our children came to me wanting to do a special fundraiser for those in need. She understood that being “members of one another” meant her larger community, a community that extended as far as New Orleans. She felt called to do something for the children who were affected there. As a result she set up a table at our Ice Cream Social a few weeks ago and collected from many of you who were touched, as I was, by her efforts.
Clearly she was not the only one in our congregation to ask the question of how we can respond. But she was the first. Others of you have also expressed an interest in doing something, and as a result the Stewardship Committee has made appeals and has coordinated our giving. It has been barely 3 weeks since Katrina struck, and nearly $2,500 dollars has been contributed so far through our congregation to the relief effort. And I know that others of you will be making further contributions.
I also know that some of you have also given through your employer or school or in others ways, so that the total giving by our people is much larger than just that one amount. We give because we take seriously that we are “members of one another”, and we feel a kinship with those who have been affected.
I am not just talking about a kinship with our denominational mission efforts, like the Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi which has suffered great losses and is in tremendous need. Nor am I just talking about our kinship with those UCC Congregations in the New Orleans area that have been devastated. We give because we feel a kinship with everyone who has felt the pain of loss as a result of Katrina, people with whom we identify because they and we are “members of one another.”
Despite the tragedy the Hurricane has visited upon the Gulf Coast, we celebrate and rejoice in all that we can do to respond to the need. Thank you, for your great generosity!