Yesterday, during my regular Community of Christ congregation’s services, we sang hymn #72 from our hymnal, entitled “Gather Us In,” which the Beyond the Walls Choir has beautifully interpreted in the video below: As we sang, I was struck by the last half of the second verse, which reads: Gather us in, the rich and the haughty; gather us in, the proud and the strong, give us a heart so meek and so lowly,
Next Sunday, I’ll be giving the sermon for the Community of Christ Toronto Congregation’s Beyond the Walls inclusive online congregation, speaking on the Parable of the Samaritan (more often called the Parable of the Good Samaritan, but my sermon will explain why I’m going for that name instead). I had been planning to post about the sermon after the fact, but the links for the YouTube live events went up today, so I thought I might share them ahead of time.
I’m helping organize the Global Mormon Studies 2023 online conference, so I’ve been trying to figure out what (if anything) I would submit for myself. I’ve been wanting to do something about the online (and, thereby, intentionally international) Toronto Community of Christ congregation, but I’ve had trouble figuring out what exactly that would be. Today, an idea clicked. I was going through their YouTube and Facebook videos for some early data collection when I realized just how different the two platform experiences are.
I’ve never had qualms about listening to Christmas music outside of December, but it still surprises me that I’ve been listening to parts of Handel’s Messiah during my morning routines over the past couple of weeks. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the music of Messiah, and in recent years, I’ve let go of my attachment to King James language and learned that a lot of the passages quoted in Messiah represent Christian prooftexting of the Hebrew Bible (here’s a great post on the subject by Pete Enns—and here’s another).
A few weeks ago, John Hamer (from the Toronto-based Beyond the Walls inclusive online congregation of Community of Christ) reached out to ask if I would be interested in contributing a pre-recorded prayer to a June 12th “millennial prayer service” focused on Community of Christ’s Enduring Principles. The denomination describes its Enduring Principles as follows: Our Enduring Principles define the essence, heart, and soul of our faith community. They describe the personality of our church as expressed throughout the world.