BY THE RT. REV. SAM GRAY |
November is a time when, as Moravians, we reflect on two elections. One of those elections is fast approaching, and, for many, it brings uncertainty and concern. Who will “win?” Who will “lose?” The seemingly endless campaign season has often gotten quite personal. There’s been lots of name-calling. The issues have sometimes been put on the sidelines.
The other election, thankfully, has already been decided – 275 years ago! On November 13, 1741 it was announced to Moravian congregations that neither Sister Anna Nitschmann nor Brother Leonard Dober would be the “head” of the church. Ironically, at that time they set aside the “issues” and got personal and did some name-calling… in a good way! Yes, they set aside the issues that might serve to divide them. They “called upon the name of the Lord” to lead them. And they invited Jesus Christ himself to “get personal” with the church and have a guiding presence in their lives!
So, what does that election mean for this election? It means that, as Moravians, no matter who “wins” and who “loses” our ultimate allegiance is to Jesus Christ. A phrase that has been used in Moravian circles recently is, “We don’t follow a donkey or an elephant; we follow a Lamb!” But words are meaningless unless we live those words. How do we live our motto? How do we follow our Lamb who has conquered? I think there are two very important words in that motto: “follow” and “our.” Following means listening to the leading of our Chief Elder and being willing to “do what Jesus would do” and be whom Jesus would call us to be. But how, in such divided times (even among Moravians) can we say that Christ is “our” Lamb?
There are no easy answers. But I believe we start by recognizing that there are no term limits on the position that our Lamb occupies. No matter what happens this week in this election, Jesus Christ is still our Chief Elder. And Christ still calls us to be witnesses to the faith and love and hope that we have in our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer no matter who occupies lesser offices for the next few years. We must never allow partisan politics or personal preferences to get in the way of the mission that Jesus has entrusted… to us!
Remember, it was “for us, for us” that the Lamb was slain. But it is also “to us, to us” that this task has been given – to carry on the platform and policies of our Chief Elder: to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, care for the sick and imprisoned, welcome the stranger… the list goes on. The task seems daunting. But that’s why the “our” in that motto is so important. Our Chief Elder calls us to do these things together, in community that transcends our present circumstances.
Finally, I find comfort in these words in a letter that the Apostle Paul sent to some folks facing challenging times a couple thousand years ago. These words were part of the assigned readings for Sunday, November 6:
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
This is my prayer… for us.
If you have questions or need additional information, email (samATmoravianmission.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.
The Rt. Rev. Sam Gray is the Director of Intercultural Ministries at the Moravian Board of World Mission.