The Beloved Community
Our Celebration for 28 December 2014: The Beloved Community
On Sunday afternoon the 28th of December we looked forward into 2015 as we continue our work in building the Beloved Community. The concept of the Beloved Community is rooted deeply in our tradition of reconciliation and the formation of a community of love which starts small and works outward to include everyone.
The formation of the Beloved Community, as Sister Simone Campbell says, starts with a "walk toward trouble" and ends in reconciliation. Martin Luther King gave us the modern definition of Beloved Community which he used so often in his speeches and writing:
"But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the
creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this
type of love that can transform opposers into friends. The type of love
that I stress here is not eros, a sort of esthetic or romantic love; not
philia, a sort of reciprocal love between personal friends; but it is
agape which is understanding goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. It is the love of God working in the lives of men. This is the love that may well be the salvation of our civilization." from The Role of the Church in Facing the Nation's Chief Moral Dilemma 1957
Here's a reading we used for the liturgy:
“It is said that as Jesus reached the gates of heaven after his Ascension, he was met by the angel Gabriel. “You have wrought the great salvation of the world,” said the angel to Jesus. But Jesus said only “YES.” “What plans do you have for carrying on your healing work now? How will all come to know how great is the love to which they are called?” asked Gabriel.
“I left Mary and Martha, Peter, James and John to tell their friends, and their friends to tell their friends, till all the world will know and live as one, answered Jesus.” “But, good Lord,” said Gabriel, “suppose Peter is too busy with his nets, or Martha with her housework, or the friends they tell are too preoccupied with their own concerns to pass on your love and live your saving work? What then?” The Lord Jesus did not answer at once.
Then, he said in his quiet, wonderful voice. “I have not made other plans. I am counting on them.” (Govan, “Calling,”1934).
We're it. We are the plan. Let's go!