Sunday, August 26, 2018 we celebrated the 140th anniversary of the first meeting of Disciples of Christ in Waxahachie, TX. The Daily Light (8/29/18) featured us big time with a front page spread that spilled over to page 9 and, best I could tell, had only 1 misspelling: Dispels of Christ. We laughed out loud reading it.
Emily created an excellent graphic and big, beautiful keepsake bulletin for the service. Denise came to walk through a practice with me so the details would be “choreographed” with folks in the right place at the right time for each part of worship. Alicia sent out lovely letters to all the former members for whom we had addresses while Kerry sent out emails to Facebook friends. Judy supervised the food sign-up lists, Marsha decorated tables, Gary and Brad spent 3 days cooking meat, and Stephen prepared the introduction for Rev. Dr. Newell Williams, president of Brite Divinity School, who preached the birthday sermon. Joel Chandler came from Wyatt St. Christian Church to sing to us – wow! Our choir sang an anthem, and Stephen played beautiful service music. Gale provided the prop for the children’s moment, Jonathan took the excellent annual congregational photo and Gary prayed over lunch while Kerry supervised the guest book. We had a stunning amount of fabulous food and more folks than I can name stepped in to help, support, participate, and clean-up. I absolutely love you guys!
We disciples are the fruit of a frontier movement whose mantra was, “Unity is our polar star”. On the frontier, European denominational distinctions didn’t work. It made no sense to have separate worship services and spaces for far-flung neighbors. Church needed to bring people together rather than drive them apart. We never succeeded at overcoming the barriers that separate groups, but unity is still our “polar star.”
The beautiful Disciples identity statement says: We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us. FCC Waxahachie has the second part down. Our communion is served from an open table with hospitality and inclusiveness. We are also good on the awareness that we are part of “one body of Christ” knowing full well that the differences in the body are as dramatic as the difference between a toenail and nostril in a human body. As amazingly different as body parts are, they are still part of the one body and needed for the health and functioning of that body.
It’s that first part of our identity we long to grow into! How do we become a movement – people on the move – for wholeness in a fragmented world? And how do we take our open, hospitable communion experience out into the world? That is work that changes everything! We are talking about wholeness not just for individuals but for our communities, our society; the whole social, political, and economic fabric of our lives.
What would it look like to be on the move toward wholeness? How would it feel to be in a community that is honest about its brokenness, self-critical of its motives, and reflective of its past? What would it mean to live so that we no longer cut our heads off our shoulders, separating our physical and spiritual realities? How would our health improve if we quit being afraid all the things we are being trained to fear? What would we try if we accepted the risk of failure?
This Sunday is the first Sunday of our 141st year. May this be a year of moving toward wholeness. May we be a community that helps bind the fragments of life together in ways of healing and wholeness.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, king of the universe, creator of all that is good. Anoint us with hope, vision, and the mission of wholeness so that Your light shines in the darkness through us, and the darkness does not put it out!
Rev. Marcia Hagee
She graduated from Duke University and the University of Missouri-Columbia studying Psychology and Religion. She earned her M. Div at Phillips Theological Seminary and was ordained by the Oklahoma Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).