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Week Five: First Day

Community Organizing

Baptismal Vow: To seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself

One of the most powerful parts of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures is the notion that all people are made in the image of God and all people are children of God. To kill or hurt our neighbor is to do damage to a sister and brother, and thus to do damage to ourselves and to God.

This vow calls us to daily consciousness that every person we meet is our sister and brother who carries in themself the image of God revealed in Jesus.

Each one of us and our culture as a whole carries wounds—suffers deeply from the injustice of the past and present.

God is committed to healing and creating the earth and its peoples. Fundamental to Christian belief is the idea that God not only created the earth and that God continues to create but also that God will one day bring the earth and its peoples to wholeness. Our participation in that healing is one way that God brings healing to us.

In Jesus, we see the way that God works to bring this healing. The cross was not a dirty job that Jesus took care of for God, but rather expresses God’s way of healing and creating:

Because the earth is beautiful with its species, people and cultures, and broken with injustice and violence, God suffers with and brings new life and new ways of living together as revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We call this a theology of the cross.

The Catacomb Churches is a way to live out an ecclesia crucis – that is, a church of the cross. A way to not only follow Jesus, but follow his lead as we are called to participation in God’s healing and creation of the world.

In TCC we understand that

The church is the community, formed in word and sacrament, that is daily reoriented to, participates in and invites others into God’s reign.

Community organizing is a powerful way to invite and strengthen people in their participation in God’s healing and creation of the earth. It strengthens communities to develop capacities to handle their own issues, to learn to fish instead waiting to be given a fish.

In community organizing we seek to participate with the larger community in recognizing our common issues and our common resources to positively affect those issues together.

Too often the church has engaged in a form of charity that assumed the church had the power and that the recipients of our charity had little power. In doing so, the church has failed to honor the Christ in the other person and kept its members ourselves safe from real relationship with our neighbor.

As each house church engages in some form of nonviolent public leadership, we will use community organizing methods to facilitate our larger community in solving its own problems.

In doing so, we find our sense of meaning together as we recognize that one of the ways we are healed is to participate with God in the healing and creation of the world.

Read the Gospel Text for this week and Pastor Terry’s reflection or listen to the podcast. We encourage you to share your insights and questions on our Facebook page or on our blog.