Thursday, January 13, 2005

John Thomas' Epiphany Letter

Rev. John Thomas, president and general minister of the United Church of Christ, wrote a letter at the beginning of Epiphany. You can read the entire letter here, but I wanted to lift out this paragraph:

"The deeper danger for us is that we will grow content with a message of inclusion and welcome. An invitation to a community of amiable tolerance is certainly to be preferred to the mean-spirited exclusion around us, but as our prayer suggests, the hands we reach forth are to be an embodiment of the outstretched arms of Christ in his passion. The welcome we extend is to a baptism that names us children of God and members of the church, a baptism that does not bless us and the culture in which we live, but reshapes us for costly discipleship, resisting those elements of our culture that demean, diminish and destroy. The invitation we give at the Table is not an offer of friendly dinner conversation, but an encounter with Jesus, crucified and risen, and with a vision of the realm of God that contends with the violence and injustices of our day. The Jesus who never turns anyone away is the same Jesus who asks us to take up the cross."

For me that's Christianity in a nutshell. Radical welcome to a table that transforms us, exhibiting love of God and neighbor always.