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Bind Us together Lord!

Updated: May 12, 2023


The readings today bring to mind the church hymn "Bind us together Lord". This hymn was only written in 1974 and it reflects our desire to be in Communion with both each other and with the Divine through a shared faith experience. It is a hymn that reflects upon unity and it is our message today.


The Apostle John tells us about a very special meeting held in an Upper Room between Jesus and ten of his disciples. But let's go back a few days before this encounter. Jesus and His twelve disciples had gathered for what we think was the Passover meal on a Thursday (Maundy Thursday). They came in fellowship - which was a gathering where they would have recounted their Jewish heritage. They were truly bound together in their shared tradition. After their fellowship gathering, Jesus' followers moved on to the Garden of Gethsemane where events took a horrible turn. Their teacher (rabbi) was arrested, tried, beaten, and nailed to a cross; with the title of King of the Jews written on a placard placed above His head. This was on Friday {Good Friday}. Jesus had died and was buried.

By Sunday, they couldn't find Jesus' body even though they knew that He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Two of their number had even left the scene. One disciple, Judas, had committed suicide and another disciple, Thomas had gone off to be by himself. The other ten disciples had returned to the Upper Room and locked the door behind themselves in fear of their own arrest. They knew that their connection with Jesus would put them in danger. Together they shared the terror of the unknown. So much had happened in such a short period of time.


But it was at this very moment that Jesus walked back into their lives. The first thing that He did was to put His disciples at ease by saying to them, "Shalom-Peace be with you." Jesus proceeded to show them His wounds, breathed on them and gifted them with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. By doing so, the disciples could then go out into the world and minister in His name. This action by Jesus, who is the Christ, the Anointed One, immediately put the disciples in communion with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.


When Thomas returned, he refused to believe the seemingly unbelievable events. In fact, he demanded evidence of Jesus' reappearance. I suspect that Thomas represents all of us in our struggle to believe. Nonetheless, Jesus returned eight days later to show Thomas his wounds. True to his word, Thomas then saw and believed.


It should be noted that Saint Thomas the Apostle had at least two virtues. First, he refused to say he understood what he did not understand or believe, and secondly when he realized what he witnessed and it was indeed authentic, be gave it all he had, by confidently proclaiming, "My Lord and my God!''


In the Acts of the Apostles, we are shown how the disciples overcame the fear which had them locked up in the Upper Room. They took the Power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had given them and went out and performed many signs and wonders among the people. But just as the religious leaders were envious of Jesus, they were equally envious of His disciples and many of them were arrested and treated harshly.


However, even when imprisoned, the presence of the Risen Lord was in the midst of His followers. As it was then, it is today. Even in the darkest of human conditions, those who believe are set free; free to continue making the Risen Christ made known to all that will listen. · .


History has shown that the Sadducees failed to stop the preaching of risen rabbi. The followers of Christ prospered. They journeyed into a sometimes hostile world and changed the course of human events. Over the past two thousand years plus there have been many wonderous signs to prove this.


Seventy years after the events in the Upper Room, John the Divine, in his "Book of Revelation" preached and taught the 'Good News of the Risen Christ.' For his troubles he was. put into prison. But because of the Holy Spirit and an angel sent by God, he was given. a vision of the Heavenly Kingdom with everyone in the midst of the God who Creates, the Christ who Redeems, and the Holy Spirit who Sanctifies. From this experience, John wrote letters. to the seven churches in Asia reminding them of the things they need to change or improve in order to do the work of our Lord. He wanted them to examine their church life and make sure that they are about the work of Jesus Christ and noting else.


I believe that when we do the work of our Lord, special things begin to happen. But how do we get to a point where we recognize that we are actually doing God's work? The first step is to forget our own self-interest. When we do the Lord's work we are given an insight and wisdom that we didn't even realize we possessed. We are presented with strength and the desire for commitment to the cause of Christ. This is something that we could not otherwise muster without the help of the Holy Spirit.


Years ago, I learned that the role of a Chaplain, a Pastoral Caregiver, a Christian was, and still is, to let other people know that the Lord is in our midst. My hope is that we all let others know that they are not alone in their pain. That it is shared. When we carry the cross even part ways for others, we are doing the work of the Lord.


Doing the Lord's work shows us that what we do in service to others is larger than ourselves, we enter into a better understanding of just who we are and what we are all about. I firmly believe that we learn who we are through others. This is why Communion is so valuable to our individual spiritual health.


Like the disciples, we are being sent out with marching orders. In many ways our commissioning is no different. We all have our own gifts to offer. I believe that faith is shared and spread one person at a time. With the guidance and patience of the Holy Spirit, we can be that person who made a difference in someone's life.


To be in Communion and united with others in faith is a true sign and wonder; that through believing as a faith community, as a Church, we may find a new life in Christ. With this knowledge we are comforted by the realization that we are never truly alone, that others journey with us. In both our hearts and minds we then can truly sing "Bind us. together Lord".


Amen



For Morning Prayer on the Second Sunday after Easter

Published on April 22nd, 2001 {Revised on January 10th, 2023}


© Dr. Charles Warner 2023

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