Donate Now YouTubeTwitterFacebookTwitter
             
I'm NEW to MCC... Tell Me More!  |  Find a Local Church  |  Give To MCC  |  Contact Us

Author Archive

While It Was Still Dark – Easter Sunday

(John 20:1)

by the Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders

The movie, Call Me Troy, does not begin with the first MCC service, but with Rev. Troy Perry’s dramatic recounting of his failed suicide attempt. He tells of an act of desperation, meant to end his suffering. Tearfully, he says, “I am eternally grateful that I didn’t die that night . . . . ”

So are we all.

Our Easter did not begin on a bright Sunday morning, 6 October 1968, but earlier. “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” we were told as children. In the dark moments of despair, something broke open into a heart broken by rejection and loneliness: a light.

DC Window

Like the light of the Easter vigil candle, many hours before the sun revealed an empty tomb, something broke open, something lit up. Jesus rose from the dead in the dead of night, witnessed only by olive trees and nocturnal creatures. He was up and gone before the first rays of light broke into the vacated space that once held his body.

The Exultet from the Easter Vigil says,

“truly blessed night worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ arose from the underworld . . . . “

The same Exultet recalls salvation history, the night our forebears were led from slavery into freedom. We in MCC have our own founding narrative, our own stories of liberation.

So many of them begin in a dark place of despair.

Many of us knew what it felt like to think our lives were over too soon. To believe that only ruin and pain lie ahead. That we would never feel or know the Presence of God, or a sense of belonging to a community.

Many MCC churches were born, are being born today, in the yearning of one soul.
Today, there are souls all over the planet, who are vigiling right now, teetering on the edge, broken, discouraged, seeking, longing for connection, for hope, for companions. For a way to get through the night.

There are so many who, today, are working for peace and justice in very dark places. For children, for refugees, for LGBTQI people, for those bound in modern slavery, for those with HIV, or the Zika virus.

Into those dark places, the light of Christ vigils, through the ages, and now, more than ever.

“O happy fault, that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer,” the ancient prayer continues. What if we have never known the pain that lead us to the Light of
Lights?

As we light our Easter vigil candle this year, let us, in union with those who have come before us on this path, give thanks for our journey, for the dark places which nurtures resurrection. Amen.

Review Team Report Regarding the Nomination Process for MCC Moderator

23 March 2016

Dear Lay and Clergy Delegates to General Conference, and MCC Friends:

This past week, we received the report from the Review Team authorized by our Governing Board to review our Moderator Nominating Committee (MNC) process. During that time, we postponed the MNC Moderator candidates’ webinar.

On Friday of last week, the Governing Board voted, by majority, not unanimously, to accept the recommendations of the Review Team, and to resume the MNC process. Some of the recommendations are short term, and some are longer term recommendations that will eventually require by-laws changes to our process, should we move forward with them.

In the spirit of transparency, we are releasing the entire report.

Again, we are grateful for the service of the MNC, and for our review team, Dan Hotchkiss, a board consultant and author of Governance, and Phil Griffin, a lay leader in MCC, with a background in governance and conflict issues.

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Nancy Wilson
Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

Sarah-Jane Ramage
Vice Chair, Governing Board, Metropolitan Community Churches

Click Here to Read the Review Team Report


The Review Team

Dan Hotchkiss
has consulted with hundreds of congregations and denominational bodies in more than 30 denominational groups. A Unitarian Universalist minister, Dan is the author of Governance and Ministry (now in its second edition) and Ministry and Money, both published by Rowman & Littlefield under its Alban Books imprint.

Phil Griffin
is a graduate of the L.E.A.D program and currently a L.E.A.D. Co-Coordinator in the OFLD. He has been a member of MCC for more than 25 years and served in a variety of roles within MCC churches. He is also a Certified Change Cycle facilitator who has assisted several churches in pastoral transitions and board struggles. Professionally, he is an upper manager in state government (Public Health) and frequently serves as the Hearing Officer for Administrative Regulations promulgation, which results in conflict resolution on things such as abortion regulations.

Moderator and Council of Elders Call for Prayer and Peace as Brussels Undergoes Terrorist Attacks

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 — As the world entered the third day of Holy Week, it did so recalling images from “September 11th” in the United States, with people covered in dust from falling debris; recalling the screams of people fleeing in Paris; remembering the parents mourning children from Northern Nigeria to central Kenya. Mothers with children and the elderly waited the longest 10 minutes of their lives for help in evacuating, as security personnel charged with helping them tried to make their way through their own shock and disbelief.

Brussels, Belgium, joined the growing ranks of cities targeted for terror and destruction about 7:00 GMT this morning. Though the statistics are still changing, at last count 34 people lost their lives and 230 were injured when bombs exploded at the Brussels International Airport and 7 miles away at a metro station during rush hour. Some say the horror and trauma were a message to the European Union, whose headquarters are nearby; others that the terrible loss inflicted was in retaliation for the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, one of those responsible for the Paris attacks last fall. ISIS has laid claim to the carnage.

Leaders from around the world joined in condemning the loss of innocent life. Belgium’s Prime Minister called the attacks “blind, violent and cowardly,” saying, “This is a day of tragedy. I call on everyone to show calmness and solidarity.” “Terrorists struck Brussels, ” said President Francois Hollande of France, “but it was Europe that was targeted . . . and all the world is concerned.” “This is yet another reminder that the world must unite . . . in fighting against the scourge of terrorism, “ said United States President, Barak Obama.

We must unite, but the question is around what? We who are of the Christian faith are in a week dedicated to recalling the Passion of Christ and his eventual Resurrection. Luke in the 19th chapter of his Gospel says that as Jesus rode into the Holy City he wept, uttering these words: “A time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all around you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you—and all because you did not recognize your opportunity for peace.”

As we pray for our brothers and sisters caught in the indiscriminate horror of violence and traumatic loss, let us also not miss our opportunity for peace. “We are one, after all, you and I,” wrote de Chardin, “together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other.” Let us pray with everything within us that the bad things happening in our world not blind us to the opportunity for peace or the allincluding love of God. Let us pray that the violence we, as a human family, have once again experienced, recreate in us a right spirit, a spirit that leads us to the kind of re-examination of our lives and recreation of our communities that will make it possible for us to live together as the one people of God.

In sorrow, in faith, and in hope,
The MCC Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches


 

Belgium-Attacks-2016O God,

We come to you once again mourning the loss

of your children in Belgium.

As you receive the dead into your Holy Presence,

please be with the surviving and bring comfort and healing to each heart.

We know Your heart is broken once again.

Look upon the world You have made with mercy.

Cleanse our hearts of their propensity toward violence and retaliation,

violence and retaliation ~ the endless cycle,

and help us to come together in a way that will re-establish

Your vision of peace and goodwill prevailing.

Help us to direct our grief and the energy of our losses

toward the things that will make for swords being hammered into plowshares,

and an end to all our sorrows.

Help us to remember Jesus’ example on the cross ~ those words about forgiveness

for those who don’t really get what they are doing, and that promise that today

can be more like Paradise than horror for us, if we are willing to follow in his footsteps.

Help us, we pray, in Jesus’ name. +Amen

Palabras Maravillosas de Vida: Tu Palabra es luz para mi camino

SoF-Logo-SpanishTheologies Team

Palabras Maravillosas de Vida: Tu Palabra es luz para mi camino

Las historias, son algunas de las cosas más poderosas que podemos compartir. Son nuestras historias de vida, las que nos dan un sentido de identidad. No conocemos bien a alguien hasta que escuchamos su historia. No nos sentimos parte de una comunidad, hasta que queremos compartir historias con otros miembros; y por lo general, es la comprensión de esas historias las que nos hacen desear unirnos a las comunidades.

B'reshit by Andrea Hernandez

B’reshit by Andrea Hernandez

En ICM, nuestra historia ha sido a menudo, una historia que ha superado el rechazo y la soledad, para encontrar comunidad. De hecho, somos parte de una historia mucho mayor que eso, una Historia que comienza con el Espíritu de Dios flotando sobre las aguas del caos, creando un mundo, separando al pueblo de Israel como pueblo especial de Dios, liberándolos de la cautividad en Egipto y de Babilonia, y luego a través de Jesús el Mesías, llevando la Buena Nueva a todo el mundo.

Los créditos todavía no se han rodado en esta gran historia. No sólo es una historia que recordamos. Somos parte de esta historia.

Nuestro mundo nos presenta muchas historias diferentes. Una historia, es la historia de Imperio, de una nación que manifestaba que su destino era tener control sobre el mundo. Otra historia nos cuenta sobre los avances tecnológicos, en la que eventualmente, la industria y la ciencia van a crear una utopía. Otros ponen la fe en la historia del “Sueño Americano”, que nos presenta que por medio del trabajo duro y la compra de propiedad crearemos la felicidad-y esta historia de la clase media, suburbana se ha extendido más allá de Estados Unidos a muchas tierras.

Encrucijada by Ross

Encrucijada by Ross

Pero nos encontramos en una encrucijada. Las historias del Imperio, de las Utopías Tecnológicas y de los sueños suburbanos no son compatibles con la historia a la que estamos llamados.

Somos personas que han adoptado, en lugar de esas historias, la historia de la Biblia: la historia de la Creación, de la Comunidad, de la Liberación y de la Reconciliación.

En esta historia, nos encontramos con Dios, escuchamos la palabra de Dios y recordamos lo que realmente somos.

Puesto que esta historia es tan central a nuestra identidad y nuestro propósito, no es deja de sorprendernos dolorosamente cuando la Biblia se conviertan en un arma, y especialmente cuando se utiliza contra nosotros o contra aquellas personas a quienes amamos. A veces estamos como personas atrapadas en el fuego cruzado entre un fundamentalismo que adora el libro y un liberalismo que lo rechaza.

Somos una historia para contar a las Naciones. Textos sagrados entre poesía y sabiduría, historia, enseñanza, historia sincera y misterio nos sostiene. Todos a la vez pueden inspirar, desafiar, confortar, enfurecer y calmar. Hebreros 10:16 nos dice:

“Esta es la Alianza que pactaré con ellos después de aquellos días, dice el Señor: Pondré mis leyes en sus corazones, y en sus mentes los grabaré.”

Las Escrituras son testigo de la bondad, del amor y de la justicia del Creador. Puesto que los textos sagrados como la Biblia se han utilizado para condenar, excluir y marginar a personas, es importante estudiar, comprender su contexto completo y leerlas a través del lente de todo el cuerpo de las Escrituras.

Estos textos también contienen nuestra historia como personas que buscan justicia, misericordia y el amor eterno de Dios. Y Dios tiene mucho más que decirnos.

Porque somos una Denominación que busca una meta y propósito común, pero con muchas teologías, también hay una gran variedad de convicciones con respecto a los textos sagrados. Muchos creen que Dios, es un Dios viviente y activo, que sigue hablándonos a todas las personas como amadas.

Books

Los Escritos Sagrados continuarán mientras Dios continúe inspirando, desafiando, enseñando y hablando del pacto la relación con el Creador. Las personas co-creamos nuestras vidas, nuestro mundo y nuestra historia con el gran Dios de nuestro entendimiento.

Algunas preguntas que la Comisión de la Declaración de Fe de ICM ha recibido sobre la Escritura y los Textos Sagrados incluyen:

  • ¿Cuál es el papel de las Escrituras en la adoración y en la formación espiritual?
  • ¿Qué autoridad tiene la Biblia en la reflexión teológica?
  • Otros textos también son sagrados, y si es así, ¿cuál es su lugar?

 

Algunas preguntas a considerar

Queremos conocer sus experiencias. Únete a la conversación en nuestra página de Facebook, o envía tu respuesta privada a través de la página web de ICM. Ver enlaces de abajo.

Este mes, estamos particularmente interesados en las siguientes preguntas:

  • ¿Cómo defines/identificas el “Texto Sagrado”?
  • ¿Cuál ha sido tu experiencia con los textos sagrados y su uso?
  • ¿Qué lugar tienen los textos sagrados en tu fe? ¿En tu relación con Dios?

 

Rev. Cathy Alexander

 

Rev. Cathy Alexander; Washington, D.C. (USA), sirve como Pastora Asociada en MCC Washington DC, así como Co-Líder de la Red de Este de Estados Unidos.

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand es miembro de la Comisión de la Declaración de fe de ICM y Pastor Crave MCC en New South Wales (Australia).

 

 

 

 

 

 

————–

Créditos de las fotos:
B’reshit de Andrea Fernandez
Crossroads de Ross
————–

seICM Banner

Living the Trinity

SoF-Logo-EnglishTheologies Team

 

Living the Trinity

MCC’s very first Statement of Faith includes the line:

“Our faith is based on the principles outlined in the Apostolic Creeds.”

By 1975 we had reworded this line to name the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. These short statements of faith, written in the second and fourth centuries respectively, teach the basics of the Christian faith. Core to both creeds is the Trinity: God in Three Persons, traditionally Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In those early days, the founders of MCC made a bold decision. Rather than reject the teachings of the churches that had rejected them, they would reclaim and embrace these cherished beliefs. This was a bold, prophetic action:

MCC would not be excluded from the church.

These vital Christian teachings nurtured us from a movement born out of desperation into a church with a powerful calling.

But what exactly is the Trinity? If you are part of an MCC group that follows the liturgical calendar, someone in your congregation may attempt an explanation in a sermon once a year on Trinity Sunday.

Three in One, One in Three…
Mathematically it makes no sense.

 

trinity graphic

Many have suggested that attempts to understand the Trinity on rational grounds will always lead to its rejection. They suggest this truth is beyond human understanding. And this is partially true. There is another problem that we often face in the contemporary church:

We cannot understand the meaning of the creeds
in isolation from the story of God’s activity in the world.

One function of our life together in the church is to share our common Christian faith with newcomers to our communities. The historic creeds preserve a shorthand account of the many questions that arose in the early church and the responses worked out through examination of the scriptures and reflecting on the experiences of early followers of Jesus.

  • They remind us that our good God made the entire world, and that this material universe, including our bodies, is good.
  • They tell us that rather than reject material creation, God entered the world in a human body as Jesus Christ. They outline his birth, his death, and his resurrection.
  • They remind us of God’s Holy Spirit who has spoken and continues to speak through human beings. This Spirit is a gift to the Church that continues to move among us today.

While the early Christians lived in a time when some of the most popular philosophies rejected the material world in favor of a totally spiritual reality, our own culture tends toward the exact opposite. Today we hear that basic reality is material, and everything can be reduced to a physical, economic, or consumer reality. This ideology has created a highly consumerist culture, fueled by a globalized economy of exploitation and protected by militaristic empires.

trinity

The Trinity presents a radically different view: Basic reality is not a material thing, but a relational thing. Before there was a universe, there was a passionate love at the heart of the Godhead, the love of Three Persons in community.

The Trinity offers an antidote to the prevailing worldview of our time. If basic reality is relational, then the purpose of creation, the mission of the church, and the meaning of life are to be found in loving relationships. As Christians, our highest calling is to love God, love one another, love our neighbor, love the stranger, and love the enemy and the persecutor. Jesus’ love-commandment turns out to be a profoundly Trinitarian approach to ethics. This is part of the uniqueness of the Christian faith. As a movement, we are calling people to be reconciled to communion with the Triune God, who is love and seeks a loving relationship with all people.

Some Questions to Consider

We’d like to hear about your thoughts and experiences. Join the conversation on our Facebook page, or send your private reply to us through the MCC website. See links below.

This month, we’re particularly interested in the following questions:

  • Does your own religious experience place much emphasis on the Trinity?
  • Does your MCC community use one or more of the historic creeds in worship?
  • How might thinking about the Trinity as a relational community help you see God?

And as always, we ask you to continue sharing your thoughts about the draft MCC Statement of Faith.
We want to hear from you!

—————–
Thank you for being a part of the conversation. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Your Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith

Bryce E. Rich (left) and Karl Hand (right)

Bryce E. Rich (left) and Karl Hand (right) at the first face-to-face meeting of the Commission of the MCC Statement of Faith, 2014, Chicago, Illinois (USA).

Rev. Karl Hand, PhD, is pastor of CRAVE MCC in Sydney, Australia and a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith.

Bryce E. Rich is the Chair of the MCC Theologies Team and a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith.

Photo credits:

Shield of the Trinity (Scutum Fidei)Wikimedia Commons

Andrei Rublev’s Angels at Mamre TrinityWikimedia Commons

————–
Like us on facebook
Subscribe to the Commission’s newsletter by sending us a request: Statement of Faith Newsletter

Send a private message to the Commission.
beMCCBanner

“Graça Maravilhosa! Quão doce o som que salvou uma alma como a minha”

SoF-Logo-PortugueseTheologies Team

Graça Maravilhosa! Quão doce o som que salvou uma alma como a minha

Porque pela graça sois salvos, mediante a fé; e isto não vem de vós; é dom de Deus.
Efésios 2:8

Crescido na Igreja Metodista Unida, Eu (Candace) sentava entre minha mãe e meu pai todo domingo para o culto. Tinham alguns hinos que ambos pareciam cantar mais alto do que outros e “Amazing Grace” (Graça Maravilhosa) era um deles. De fato, para mim, um dos melhores presentes que eu sei que recebi dos meus pais, dos professores da escola bíblica dominical e dos membros comuns daquela igreja é que o conhecimento da graça de Deus é abundante e isto é um presente.

Enquanto nós não gostamos de falar ou mesmo pensar sobre o pecado (veja a newsletter anterior sobre pecado) Paulo afirma: pois todos pecaram e carecem da glória de Deus, sendo justificados gratuitamente, por sua graça, mediante a redenção que há em Cristo Jesus, (Romanos 3:24). Isto me parece que nós precisamos de ter um senso da nossa própria pecaminosidade, da nossa própria separação de Deus, da nossa própria falha em impactar com a “marcar” do amor a fim de experimentar a completa experiência da graça de Deus.

Podemos ler na atual Declaração de Fé da ICM: ” Todas as pessoas são justificadas pela graça de Deus através da fé em Jesus Cristo… tamanha graça não é ganhada, mas é um presente puro de Deus de puro amor.”

Mas o que é graça?

As vezes é muito fácil desenhar a graça como uma reação instintiva de Deus para o pecado. Os capítulos iniciais da Bíblia apresenta uma história diferente. Lá, nós vemos um Deus que age graciosamente desde o início, e não é surpreendido pela humanidade falha.

Em Gênesis 1:1, Deus não tinha a necessidade de criar o mundo, mas ao contrário, criou um simplesmente pelo prazer e alegria que a criação proporciona (Gênesis 1:31), e para mostrar a glória de Deus por isso ( veja Salmos 19:1). Deus tem graciosamente feito e sustentado este ambiente natural onde a humanidade e todas as criaturas podem florescer. A mera graciosidade do mundo em que vivemos nos lembra com cada batimento e com cada novo dia que a graça de Deus para conosco dura para sempre.

Detail from The Creation by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

Detalhes da “A Criação”
por Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

Para mim (Candace), saber isto, “é” sem sombra de dúvida “a certeza” de que Deus me ama e deseja estar em uma relação comigo, uma relação que impacta toda área da minha vida e das relações com os outros. Eu nunca poderei esquecer aquela noitinha muitos anos atras quem eu estava parada na fila da mercearia com meu pão e leite. Era uma fila para pessoas que tinham poucos itens, então ficava mais para o fundo das filas. Conforme eu olhava para todas as pessoas nas outras filas, eu tive esta experiencia incrível de “conhecimento” que Deus amava a todas as pessoas o tanto que Deus me amava. Isto era como, usando uma frase de John Wesley, ‘meu coração foi estranhamente aquecido’. Este sentimento veio do nada e mudou a minha vida.

El Regreso del Hijo Pródigo

O retorno do filho pródigo
por Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

O autor de 1 João escreveu: “Ninguém jamais viu a Deus; se amarmos uns aos outros, Deus permanece em nós, e o seu amor é, em nós, aperfeiçoado.” (1 João 4:12).
Então, enquanto a graça é um presente, é um dom que vivemos enquanto amamos uns aos outros. O presente da graça de Deus é o dom do Perdão. E nós somos chamados para viver este dom do perdão em todas as nossas relações. É certo que não é uma tarefa fácil.

Eu escrevo estas linhas a beira da Sexta-feira Santa. Então eu também sei que enquanto a graça é um dom dado livremente, não é um dom dado sem custo. Só que nós não temos que pagar esse custo: Jesus pagou por mim e por você na cruz. “Contudo, Jesus dizia: Pai, perdoa-lhes, porque não sabem o que fazem.” (Lucas 23: 34)

Como um povo Cristão LGBT, que tem tido experiencia com a graça de Deus temos um presente para compartilhar com o mundo. Assim como a Terra tremeu quando a tumba foi aberta no manhã da Páscoa, então, nós poderemos fazer o mundo tremer com a Boa Nova que o amor e a graça de Deus vence o pecado e o medo.

—————–

Algumas questões para considerar

Nós gostamos de ouvir sobre suas experiências. Participe do nosso fórum na nossa página do Facebook, ou nos mande uma resposta privada pelo site da MCC. Segue os links abaixo.
Este mês, estamos particularmente interessados nas seguintes questões:

  • Você consegue se lembrar da vez que você entendeu o amor e a graça de Deus e o que isto significou para você?
  • Como foi esta experiência?
  • Qual foi o impacto na sua vida?

Você também pode compartilhar suas idéias sobre a Declaração de Fé.
Nós queremos ouvir de você!

—————–

Obrigado por fazer parte da discussão. Queremos muito continuar esta conversa.

Sua Comissão da Declaração de Fé da ICM.

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis

 

 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis é a presidente da Comissão da Declaração de Fé da ICM.

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand

 

 

 

 

Rev. Karl Hand, PhD, é pastor
da CRAVE ICM em Sidney, Australia e membro da Comissão da Declaração de Fé da ICM.

 

 

————–

 

Siga-nos no Facebook
Se inscreva na newsletter da Comissão
.

Mande uma mensagem privada a Comissão.

seICM Banner

Nurturing Questions of Belonging and Community

Fourth Sunday in Lent
(Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32)

by the Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders

Questions of “belonging” and “community” never quite seem to be fully answered. The journey in MCC began for many of us by asking the question “Is there a place for me?” And often times, it was really a much deeper question about our relationship with God. The crossover is paramount, while we have our own spiritual practices, it is in belonging and entering into a faith community that our personal relationship with God is both nurtured and challenged.

Here we are, at mid-point in our Lenten journey. The joy and glitter of Christmas is long behind us, and we now long for the coming and celebration of Easter. But isn’t it in those in-between times that we learn the most about ourselves and our community? Most lessons are truly learned, neither at the beginning or the end, but along the way.

man in sunset

“Coming Home.” Photo by Luz Adriana Villa

The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke is one of these along-the-way lessons. The question of belonging beneath the story is familiar in many ways: to quote The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go?” What once seemed so sure and comforting is called into question as we venture into the unknown. The disorientation, the angst, the learning! We’ve all been there, and will most likely be there again.

The good news in Luke’s story is even when we are questioning our sense of belonging and community, even as we wander in ways we may regret, there is grace, and there is the One that stands ready to welcome us back with open and loving arms.

In this mid-time of Lent, where are you in your personal journey-how are you feeling about your sense of belonging and community? In what new ways are we as a denomination being called by God to be a community of radical welcome? Isn’t the Spirit always calling MCC to create a place of belonging and community for the religious nomads of our time? Will the rising tide of “nones” (those claiming no religious affiliation) and “dones” (those “done” with religion), be able to say “yes” there’s a place for me in MCC?

Let us continue to nurture the questions of belonging and community. For it is in the journey of seeking answers that we learn about ourselves and God, and are invited to be both recipients and providers of God’s amazing grace.

Perguntas de reflexão sobre o “Ser Comunidade”

IV Domingo da Quaresma
(Lucas 15:1-3, 11b-32)

Conselho dos Bispos/as – Igrejas da Comunidade Metropolitana

Perguntas sobre “pertencer” e “comunidade” nunca parecem ser totalmente respondida. A ICM começou para muitos de nós fazer a partir da pergunta “Existe um lugar para mim?” Muitas vezes, nesta pergunta, residia uma questão muito mais profunda sobre o nosso relacionamento pessoal com Deus.

Esta travessia é muito importante, podemos ter nossas próprias práticas espirituais, no entanto, é pertencer e ser uma comunidade de fé nos proporciona a possibilidade de alimentarmos o nosso relacionamento com Deus. Mas ser Comunidade será sempre um desafio.

man in sunset

“Chegando em Casa.” Foto: Luz Adriana Villa

Agora, estamos na metade do caminho quaresmal. A alegria e o brilho do Natal são deixados para trás, e ainda há de se viver um tempo para a chegada e a celebração da Páscoa. Mas não é exatamente no meio do caminho que a maioria de nós e nossa comunidade são desafiadas a aprender? A maioria das lições é aprendida na estrada, não no início ou no fim.

Na parábola do filho pródigo no Evangelho de Lucas, encontramos uma dessas lições do caminho. A questão da adesão é familiar de muitas maneiras: para citar The Clash, ” eu deveria

Eu ficar ou devo ir? (“The Clash” foi uma banda de Inglês como parte da onda inicial de punk britânico. A canção mencionada na reflexão é “Devo ficar ou devo ir?)

O que antes parecia tão seguro e confortável é questionado como se aventurar no desconhecido: desorientação, ansiedade, aprendizado! Todos nós já estivemos neste lugar de dúvida e é muito provável que para lá voltemos.

A boa notícia na história de Lucas é que mesmo quando estamos questionando nosso senso de pertença e de comunidade, mesmo que mais tarde nos arrependamos e fiquemos sem graça há sempre alguém que está disposto a nos receber de braços abertos e nos amar.

Neste momento, no meio da Quaresma, onde você está em sua jornada pessoal? O que você sente sobre o seu SER comunidade? Quais são as novas formas que Deus chama a nossa denominação para ser uma comunidade radicalmente inclusiva? Você sente o Espírito Santo chamando a ICM para criar um lugar de pertença e comunidade de nômades religiosos de nosso tempo?

Os autossuficientes de nosso tempo, e aqueles que afirmam não ter filiação religiosa podem dizer que “sim” existe um lugar para eles em nossa ICM?

Vamos continuar a incentivar as questões que nos façam refletir sobre o SER Comunidade. Porque é na estrada, no caminhar em comunidade que encontramos as respostas sobre nós mesmos e sobre Deus.

Todos somos convidados e convidadas para sermos aqueles que servem e são servidos ao mesmo tempo pela maravilhosa graça de Deus.

Fomentando las preguntas sobre pertenencia y comunidad

Cuarto Domingo de Cuaresma
(Lucas 15:1-3, 11b-32)

Iglesias de la Comunidad Metropolitana Consejo de Obispos y Obispas

Las preguntas sobre “pertenencia” y “comunidad” nunca parecen ser contestadas completamente. El recorrido en ICM comenzó para muchos de nosotros haciendo la pregunta “¿Hay un lugar para mí?” Y muchas veces, era en realidad una cuestión mucho más profunda sobre nuestra relación con Dios. Este cruce es de suma importancia, nosotros podemos tener nuestras propias prácticas espirituales, sin embargo, es perteneciendo y entrando a una comunidad de fe cuando nuestra relación con Dios se nutre y encuentra retos.

Ahora estamos, a mitad del camino cuaresmal. La alegría y el brillo de la Navidad quedó detrás, y aún falta tiempo para la llegada y la celebración de la Pascua. Pero, ¿no es en aquellos entre tiempos que la mayor parte de nosotros y nosotras mismos y de nuestra comunidad aprendemos? La mayoría de las lecciones aprendidas son realmente en el camino, no al principio o al final.

man in sunset

“Regresando a casa.” Foto: Luz Adriana Villa

En la parábola del hijo pródigo en el evangelio de Lucas encontramos una de estas lecciones de camino. La pregunta sobre pertenencia es familiar de muchas maneras: para citar a The Clash, “¿Debo quedarme o me debo ir? (“The Clash” fue una banda inglesa de punk rock punk que se formó en 1976 como parte de la onda original del punk británico. Junto con el punk, su música tiene elementos del reggae, dub, funk, ska y rockabilly. La canción aludida en la reflexión es “Should I stay or should I go?” Lo que antes parecía tan seguro y reconfortante se pone en duda mientras nos aventuramos en lo desconocido: ¡la desorientación, la angustia, el aprendizaje! Todos hemos estado allí, y lo más probable es que volvamos a estar de nuevo.

La buena noticia en la historia de Lucas es que incluso cuando estamos cuestionando nuestro sentido de pertenencia y comunidad, aun en formas que luego podríamos lamentar, hay gracia, y hay Alguien que está dispuesto a darnos la bienvenida con los brazos abiertos y amorosos.

En este tiempo a mitad de la Cuaresma, ¿dónde estás en tu viaje personal? ¿qué sientes acerca de tu sentido de pertenencia y comunidad? ¿Cuáles son las nuevas formas en que Dios llama a nuestra denominación a ser una comunidad de bienvenida radical? ¿Está siempre el Espíritu llamando a ICM para crear un lugar de pertenencia y comunidad para los nómadas religiosos de nuestro tiempo? La reciente ola de “los basta” (aquellos que afirman no tener afiliación religiosa) y la de los “suficiente” (ya terminé con la religión), ¿podrá decir “sí” hay un lugar para mí en ICM?

Vamos a seguir fomentando las preguntas de pertenencia y comunidad. Porque es en el camino de la búsqueda a las respuestas que aprendemos sobre nosotros mismos y sobre Dios, somos invitados e invitadas a ser receptores y a la misma vez proveedores de la maravillosa gracia de Dios.

“Soll ich bleiben oder soll ich gehen?” Hilfreiche Fragen zu Dazugehören und Gemeinschaft

Vierter Sonntag der Passionszeit
(Lukas 15,1-3.11b-32)

Mit dem Ältestenrat

“Dazugehören” und “Gemeinschaft”: Können Fragen hierzu jemals ganz beantwortet sein? Für viele von uns begann der Weg in der MCC mit der Frage: “Gibt es hier einen Platz für mich?” Und wie oft steckte da eine viel tiefere Frage dahinter – nämlich die nach unserer Beziehung zu Gott. Diese Verknüpfung ist entscheidend, denn während wir alle unsere eigenen spirituellen Frömmigkeits-Praktiken haben, sind es genau die Zugehörigkeit und der Beitritt zu einer Glaubensgemeinschaft, die unsere persönlichen Gottesbezüge sowohl fördern als auch in Frage stellen.

Unser Weg durch die Fastenzeit ist nun zur Hälfte vorbei. Wonne und Glanz der Weihnachtszeit liegen hinter uns, nun freuen wir uns auf Ostern. Aber ist es nicht gerade in diesen Zwischen-Zeiten, dass wir am meisten über uns und unsere Gemeinschaften lernen? In der Tat lernen wir die meisten Lektionen nicht am Anfang oder am Ende, sondern mitten auf dem Weg.

man in sunset

“Heimkommen.” Foto: Luz Adriana Villa

Das Gleichnis vom verlorenen Sohn im Lukas-Evangelium ist eine dieser Lektionen mitten auf dem Weg. Dahinter steckt eine Frage nach Dazugehören, die uns in vielerlei Hinsicht vertraut ist – mit den Worten von The Clash: “Should I stay or should I go?” (“Soll ich bleiben oder soll ich gehen?”). Was einst so sicher, tröstlich und ermutigend erschien, wird in Frage gestellt, während wir uns ins Unbekannte aufmachen. Was für eine Orientierungslosigkeit, was für eine Angst, was für ein Lernprozess! Wir waren alle mal an diesem Punkt, und werden höchstwahrscheinlich auch wieder dahin kommen.

Die gute Nachricht der Geschichte bei Lukas ist: Selbst wenn wir an unserem Gefühl von Dazugehören und Gemeinschaft zweifeln, selbst wenn wir das, was wir hinter uns haben, bereuen – auch da treffen wir auf Gnade, auf den/die/das Eine/n, wo wir mit offenen und liebenden Armen wieder willkommen geheißen werden.

In diesen Tagen inmitten der Passionszeit: Wo bist du auf deinem persönlichen Weg – wie ergeht es dir mit deinem Gefühl von Dazugehören und Gemeinschaft? Wo beruft uns Gott auf neue Art und Weise, als Denomination eine Gemeinschaft zu sein, die alle radikal willkommen heißt? Ruft der Geist die MCC nicht immer dazu auf, Orte des Dazugehörens und der Gemeinschaft zu schaffen für die religiösen Nomaden unserer Zeit? Wird die wachsende Zahl derjenigen, die eine religiöse Bindung nicht oder nicht mehr haben (die “Nones” und “Dones”), sich imstande fühlen zu sagen: “Ja, in der MCC gibt es einen Platz für mich”?

Lasst uns die Fragen nach Dazugehörigkeit und Gemeinschaft weiter stellen. Schließlich ist es genau diese Suche nach Antworten, die uns am meisten lehrt über uns selbst und Gott, und die uns einlädt, sowohl Empfangende als auch Austeilende von Gottes “Amazing Grace” zu sein, also von der erstaunlichen und wunderbaren und umwerfenden Gnade Gottes.