Last night, some of us from the choir and the chorale sang at an ecumenical service of unity at a nondenominational church around the corner from ours. The host church had an espresso bar where most churches have a fellowship hall. They also had a pretty gnarly praise band.
We were the only traditional choir, and we performed a song written by our music director based on MLK's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Five pastors spoke and led prayers. One of them was tasked with leading a prayer for the officials of East Fishkill. He led off by reading from Romans 13. I reckon the purpose was to demonstrate that praying for local officials was appropriate since "all authority" is mentioned. Still, it disturbed me to have this read out at length, and I dreaded what was to come. Another pastr led a prayer for New York State officials. A passage from a letter ascribed to Peter was read as directing Christians to respect authority as God given to punish eveil and reward good. The Catholic priest led a prayer for the officals of the United States. All these prayers were for the officals to be granted wisdom and to work justice and to do right. There was, I ws grateful, no authoritarian undertone.
One of our associate pastors, the one who has the prophetic gift, gave the sermon. He spoke of unity as the body of Christ workin in the world and seeking the Kingdom. His text was from Matthew "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness..." He decried our tendency to get together in our "Holy huddles" and focus mainly on how we worship and how we take care of ourselves. He preached a vision of a Hopewell Junction where all the churches of the vicinity came together to meet the needs of the community by building clinics, serving as tutors in schools, feeding the hungry and ministering to the poor and vulnerable, and sharing our gifts with the world not just within the walls of our churches. He talked of Jesus among us, alive today and ruling His Kingdom right here and now through His church.
It was uplifting. I was inspired to get out and help my fellow man. The feeling will pass all too soon if past experience is a guide. I pray that it won't.