Beloved Community

Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you ask a member of our church what they like most about The Congregational Church of Huntington, they will invariably respond, “the people.” Not the sermons, the music, or the architecture, but the congregation. And this is as it should be. A church is nothing without a loving group of people.

We are not unique in this fact. If you asked the same question in most every other church you would receive the same answer. It is the nature of a church for generally like-minded people to create an organization that gives them deep satisfaction and meaning in their lives. A good part of the meaning comes from the relationships that are formed in the church.

The church, though, should be a place that is more than a loving community where people are cared for and where we hang out with our friends. As the family of God, a congregation is called to be a beloved community. This is a place where God’s love, agape, may be realized. The beloved community is an ideal image of God’s dream for human relationships. Dr. Martin Luther King said that agape is, “…the love of God operating in the human heart….Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people…It begins by loving others for their sakes” and “makes no distinction between a friend and enemy; it is directed toward both…Agape is love seeking to preserve and create community.”

The beloved community was Dr. King’s goal for the outcome of the civil rights movement. In advocating for the methods of non-violence resistance he said, “This is a method that seeks to transform and to redeem, and win the friendship of the opponent, and make it possible for men to live together as brothers in a community, and not continually live with bitterness and friction.”

I believe our church has been very successful at creating a loving community. But I think we are still challenged to truly have truly diverse, beloved community. To begin the fall season I will be preaching a series of sermons on Dr. King’s beloved community and how it may be applied in many areas of our lives.  I hope you will join us in not only hearing and responding to the sermons, but in helping us all to realize God’s dream of true Christian community in our world.

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