A integral part of serving as moderator of our association is understanding the beauty and challenge of covenant. When I say covenant, many of us think of the promise God makes to Noah in the sign of a rainbow or the vows we took with our spouses as we stood before God on our wedding day.
And yet, covenant isn’t some archaic biblical idea or a fancy word for wedding vows. It is foundational in our UCC polity and it flows along in the way we communicate and care about the people and institutions in this association and in our national church. Recently, I was discussing the slender thread that binds us together. A thread that we can choose to acknowledge or ignore, but still exists. While I think the word covenant is lovely and divine, I tend to use the word relationship because it implies connection in an intimate way that covenant does not.
In this present climate, where the secular world shouts at us to look out only for ourselves, it isn’t difficult to act as if our local church is our only concern. This is a seductive act- to hold onto our own offerings without sharing, ignore mailings, or treat business meetings like the family reunion with that side of the family and simply be too busy to participate. Having said that, our polity demands we not ignore our fellow brethren. It is ordination that originates in the association, and specifically in Ohio Conference, so does search and call. By the very fact that the association is the origins of ministerial call we are reminded that while govern our own church business, our collective heart and shepherding belongs to the larger church that shapes our called disciples to lead and assists us when we are in need. We really do need one another and the structure beyond ourselves. We are responsible for, and to, one another.
I worry that my impassioned pleas and challenges at our business and educational meetings may have labeled me as the moderator always begging for your money. While I will continue to ask, it is with the knowledge that when we care about one another, we invest in ourselves. We invest our time, our resources and ourselves. Especially now, as we frame up the future of our conference, it is imperative that we listen, and when asked, show up to shape our own future. Please continue to honor that slender thread that binds us as churches, disciples of Jesus Christ, and as children of God. We are worth the effort!