First Mennonite Church of Morton

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    Surrounded By The Crowds

    March 9, 2016
    Filed Under:
    Commune Together, Scripture

    Our son loves cars, math and competition, so stock car racing is easily something that he’s drawn to.  Therfore, one of our bonding times occasionally includes watching a NASCAR race on television.  This Sunday afternoon, he chose his new favorite driver and we enjoyed cheering on Brad Keselowski as the hours passed. 

    We especially enjoyed watching this race because a family that we know was actually at the racetrack!  They had joined the crowd of 116,000 and got to experience that day’s ferocious wind and the deafening roar of the engines.  As we sent a few text messages to them – asking about their track-side experience and who they were rooting for – I could tell that our son longed to be cheering on his driver with them, in person.  He knew that watching the race in the midst of crowd would be a completely different experience than just peering in through fiber-optic cables with his dad.  Regardless, we cheered on #2 as he made his way to victory.

    Our new series, The Communion of Saints, introduces us to the deeper levels of church life than we often think of.  For Christ’s Church is certainly much more than a small gathering of people on Sunday morning.  It’s much wider than a local church or her parent denomination.  It’s even deeper than the 2.1 billion people that confess Jesus as Savior throughout the world. 

    The ‘Communion of Saints’ even includes believers who have gone before us.  By faith, we are connected in with every person who has ever called upon the name of the Lord for salvation.  Therefore, we are spiritually surrounded by what the writer of Hebrews calls “a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) -  the eternal, spiritual community which surrounds us and loudly celebrates God’s work in our life, family and church.   How incredible is that! 

    As believers, we need to remember that the ‘communion of saints’ is much larger than just you and me because there are moments when we feel like we are only ‘looking in’ upon something spectacular and are missing out.  There moments when it’s tempting to feel alone in our faith journey or get jealous about how our friend’s experience with God.  It’s also tempting to believe that 2000 year-old witnesses in Scripture have very little connection with our twenty-first century world.  Yet, there is a profound connection that exists among all believers throughout the ages.  Peter declares that even angels long to look at how Isaiah’s words are relevant in Morton, Illinois and how Moses’ faith connects with your personal proclamation of the gospel (see 1 Peter 1:10-12)!

    The grandstands are full and we are part of the crowd, even when we fail to recognize it.  Therefore, I encourage you to make a habit of praying beyond ‘your world.’  Perhaps consider praying for your leaders in MC USA.  Perhaps consider praying for believers in Syria, Ukraine, Japan or Brazil.  And as you engage in Scripture this week, consider that your faith was formed by the same Holy Spirit which was present in the transcription of Holy Scripture. 

    The ‘Communion of Saints’ is deep and wide, vast and deep.  What an exciting day it will be when we do see it fully in person!  In the meantime, let’s not forget that we get to celebrate the victory of Jesus together each week.  Our smaller gathering is just a foretaste of what is come!

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