Putting People First

audreyhepburn378280The mail came this morning, and with a couple of letters I got a bundle of junk mail. By far the largest piece of mail was a political party manifesto. When I opened it up there was a flyer inside it offering a free Domino’s pizza. Wow, I thought, there’s a political party giving away Pizza’s! I had to wonder how many more people would vote for a party if they did.

When we come to voting for a party we all have our own set of criteria on which to choose. For some it’s financial, for others it’s healthcare, and for others it’s something else entirely. For me it’s community. Will they help to protect the communities that I love? Will they support all families and not just some? Are their priorities ones that I would ascribe to?

Community is important to me. I know what it is to be a part of a church community where everyone looks out for everyone else. Jesus said ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. I believe Jesus is simply saying that love comes first. What I believe about my neighbor comes second to whatever my neighbor needs, and my neighbor is simply whoever is on my left, or right, at any given moment, whether I’m at church or not.

Every week we celebrate communion at our worship service. It is a reminder that Jesus is in our midst. It is also a reminder that the only thing that Jesus asks of us is that we let him love us. Communion is Jesus asking us, would you like to be a part of my life, and for me be a part of yours? He doesn’t ask us for anything, not even to believe, he simply offers himself. Through him we understand that God doesn’t ask anything of us and simply wants to be a part of our life. Communion is about community. It’s not about us joining a community, it’s about us allowing a community to embrace us. In communion we allow Jesus to embrace us, we give him permission to do so, and we connect with the community of faith that we call ‘Church’.

If Jesus was standing for election I wonder how many would vote for him? I really don’t know. I suspect he’d be far too liberal and accepting for a lot of people, and a definite danger to those who like to use fear to build their empires. But what I do know is that it wouldn’t make one jot of difference to Jesus, he’d continue to do what he always has – offer himself and in so doing create community.

As we continue to find our feet as a church I’m proud of our foundation, for it’s simply about putting people first. When we put others first Jesus reaches through our hands and feet, through our hearts, and becomes manifest in the world. We enter a state of true communion. Putting other people first is putting Jesus first, and the story at the heart of the gospel.

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed week

Rev. Michael

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