Very early in the book of Acts (Acts 1:15-26) we’re introduced to Matthias, a man who was mentioned only once in holy scripture. The event was a momentous one for him and a lesson for people who live faithfully outside the sphere of influence and privilege. Matthias was one of two nominees to become the replacement for Judas in the band of apostles. He earned that opportunity because he had accompanied the apostles the whole time Jesus was with them “from the baptism of John to the day on which he was taken up,” having also been a witness to the resurrection. He was one of those folks who knew the value of staying close to the example and teachings of Jesus – without needing to be known as “one of the Twelve.”
We don’t have much more than our imagination to go on to understand this devoted disciple of Christ. But imagine if you will that he did share his most intimate desires and words of encouragement for those of us who would follow in the way of Christ.
I write to you, friends, to share with you that justice is what love looks like on the streets of your cities and towns. You are reading this message intended for you in the last days of the season in which you celebrate Christ’s resurrection. You are peering over the days toward the feast of Pentecost when you will celebrate the spirit that burns between you. You will celebrate the church that I knew, that lit up my life like fire, and you will celebrate the church that you love and know so well.
I celebrate with you, my friends, for I have seen that spirit among you. I have witnessed God’s love among you.
I have seen you feeding the hungry and healing the sick. I have seen you open the doors of your church to students, to families, to children, to those living their lives with HIV and AIDS, to anyone who is seeking God, or seeking new life, or seeking a hope for which they don’t have words.
I have witnessed the way you care for one another, from the tender way you walk with those who are approaching the end of their lives on earth, to the way you greet a stranger with a smile or a touch, to the way you love and encourage the children who make a joyful noise among you.
I have seen you care for the place where you gather, always making it a place filled with light and lifting your voices so that songs of praise float among you and between you to connect you to Christ’s message of liberation and love.
And so now I urge you, sisters and brothers, to be true to those who taught you the message of resurrection. Take your message of inclusion and love to the people who yearn for it most. I urge you to give thanks for one another and to give thanks for those who are yet to be known to you. Go into the streets of your cities and towns and greet every stranger you meet as if you are greeting the Christ – for you are the very body of Christ, welcoming one another to the table for the feast.
Blessings to you who know that God’s love is for all. — Matthias
God provides us with opportunities to connect, sometimes in unexpected ways, with people from all walks of life. Matthias reminds us that this is especially so among those who live faithfully outside the sphere of influence and privilege. As a community of faithful Disciples of Christ, we have the opppotunity to share our open and affirming message of love and liberation with our LGBTQ+ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and others] siblings at PRIDEFEST, June 23 & 24.
Union Avenue Christian Church will join with other Disciples congregations from throughout the metro area in a ministry of presence and outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. We are asking members of the congregation to volunteer to serve at our PRIDEFEST booth [June 23 & 24] and join us to march in the parade [June 24 at noon]. You may sign-up online to be a volunteer presence in our DISCIPLES booth. There are two-hour blocks of time for which you may volunteer (please remember to indicate you are from Union Avenue Christian Church). If you’re interested in joining the group for the parade on Sunday, you also may indicate that at the online link.
Please consider joining us and sharing God’s message of love.