Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Community of the Servant-Savior[1]

Many of you may not know that when I was undergoing my career transition several years ago, we drove by this church and I noticed the sign that has “Servant-Savior” in large letters, and I told Kristi that I wanted to be the pastor of a church that called itself “A Community of the Servant-Savior”! And here I am!

I think it is ironic that the last posting on my sermon blog is my sermon from Palm Sunday where I talked about experiencing the contradiction of this world when we determine to follow Christ. We don’t yet know whether that’s what happened here, but I think all of us have experienced the discouragement and exhaustion I talked about. When we have to carry these kinds of burdens, I think we often feel like we are alone—but to our church family, I want to say look around you—this group of friends who are here to support us is just a sample of support we are receiving from all over the country. I’ve lost count of the email, phone, and facebook messages I’ve received.

As our story gets told in the public forum, unfortunately various people will use our tragedy to promote their agenda, and in the process will try to define our identity accordingly. I want to just take a few minutes to remind us of who we are. We are A Community of the Servant-Savior!

We are a community—not the community, but simply a community. That word is full of meaning—we are a family, we are a supportive and embracing group, we seek to include all who want to join with us on our journey of faith. But it is also incredibly vulnerable and humble. It suggests openness to the Spirit of God. We seek to create a safe place in which to ask questions, to be closer to God and to share in community in a deep way. And it suggests that we see ourselves as “in process,” not that we have “arrived” or “stand” for anything other than that kind of genuine spiritual quest.

We are also a community of the savior, Jesus the Christ. While we take Jesus seriously, we take ourselves lightly. We are a community of the “Servant-Savior.” We believe that Jesus came to “serve, not to be served.” And we also take seriously our commitment to follow Christ in that spirit of service.

Because of that commitment, we seek to promote the justice, peace, and acceptance of God’s kingdom. We see diversity as one of God's many blessings to the community and so we welcome everyone—regardless of nationality, race, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation. And because of that commitment we seek to be careful stewards of all the earth, embracing and celebrating the goodness of God’s creation.

These are just some highlights of who we are as “A Community of the Servant-Savior.” I’ve only been here a couple of years, but I firmly believe that we will emerge from the tomb of this rubble to a whole new and vibrant existence, just as our Servant-Savior did on that first Easter Sunday.

[1] © 2010 Alan Brehm. Thoughts delivered by Rev. Dr. Alan Brehm on 4/11/10 at A Community of the Servant-Savior Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed our building.

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