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The importance of community to discipleship

Bishop Beckwith, Canon Jacobs and Deacon Deborah Drake

“Jesus leaves as his legacy a community that embodies God’s promises and reconciliation to the world.” (Page 52 People of the Way by Dwight Zscheile.) Dwight’s whole book emphasizes the communal dimension of the Christian witness. He contends that whatever personal revelation we experience through the Resurrection needs to be connected with community.

Which brings me to the whole subject of religion. The root of the word religion is the Latin word religio, which means to bind, to connect – to join together. The Eucharist binds the human family to God. Jesus binds himself to us through his connection with the bread and wine. Death and life are joined together in the mystery of the word made flesh which lived, died – and came to life again.

The power of the Eucharist binds us to the holy presence – and to the world. The new life that we receive in the Eucharist sends us out into that world – and our witness binds us to the world. And our witness has the capacity to bind some of the wounds of the world.

Religion gets some bad press these days, especially from those who claim that they are “spiritual but not religious.” To them, religion means rules and rigidity. But the deeper dimension of religious is to connect. To be bound together.

I am honored to claim our Episcopal identity as profoundly religious. We are dedicated to connecting with the world through the reconciling witness of the living Christ.

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