Page 2 - Moravian Messenger September 2018
P. 2

'Is our future in our history?'continued
With God's eternal love as foundation, Jesus, in his high priestly prayer for his disciples, is drawing on what turned out to be one of the first historical lines in church history. Jesus, God yet Son of Man, states that he is not belonging to the world, as are his followers. They live in the world, but they are in a living fellowship with Christ. They are sanctified in the truth, the truth being Jesus Christ. As the Father and the Son are one, they shall be one. And it means that we shall be one. The oneness of the Triune God is given to those who believe. The Glory of God has been given to them. From these disciples, the history and therefore the story, the narrative goes on through generations, and now we are given the truth, not as something to keep for ourselves, but give to others. Our history is rooted in Jesus Christ creating the oneness between God and man. Thereby, we, as Christians, in our case, as Moravians are called into oneness with one another.
When we are asking if our future can be found in our history, the answer is not short and easy. We are part of a history as a church that in our case took its beginning some 600 years ago, when the first roots to our church were created. But the relation between us and history goes back to Jesus praying that his followers may continue in oneness and continue in the truth.
We are living in a time, where truth is not considered unquestionable; there is supposed to be no objective truth say our contemporary, postmodern soothsayers. Yet, as followers of Jesus Christ we are called into the truth.
We can learn from John Hus, who was willing to give his life because of his conviction that the church of his time was not following the will of God as revealed in Scripture. Yet, his dying words were directed to the living Word as he sang, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
In the interpretation of Scripture, we may find our foundational point of departure, when looking for a way forward, into the future. In 1419, four years after Hus's death, the Hussite league declared as one of the Four Articles of Prague, that “the living word in dialogue between the preacher and the congregation is the real expression of faith.” They spoke of it as the “prophetic and apostolic message of the Word of God,” and said that it should be preached freely and in the vernacular of the people. Peter Chelcicky preached that people should “accept the simple words of Scripture and believe above all in the example of Christ.” That makes sense to us, even today!
In 1457, a group of Hussites, led by Gregory, distinguished themselves as “Brethren of the Law of Christ,” and in 1464 they passed a resolution affirming that this law of Christ was shown
through the Bible. By the late 1400's, the Brethren were making an important distinction between the essentials and those things that ministered to the essentials. The Bible was considered to be a ministerial, but the great Moravian theologian, Luke of Prague, called it “that first, greatest and most necessary ministerial thing.” The Apology written by the Unitas Fratrum in 1503 stated that the “Word of God is the ministrative by which God is made known.”
Scripture is calling us into worship, faith and to discipleship, not unlike the understanding of the early Moravian Church, and of the renewed Moravian Church. The Christian call to discipleship invites people to worship the God of grace, who promises fullness of life for all, to follow in the way of Jesus who said, “I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest” (John 10:10), and to be empowered and transformed by the movement of the Spirit.
Jesus prayed that his followers would reflect the unity of the Triune God. He even commanded them to do the liberating work of restoring relationships within all creation and gave to his followers the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower them for this work. We Moravians, together with many others, claim this as our hope and our calling.
This act of discipleship leads us to live out God's love in Jesus Christ by inspiring people to walk ways that are different from the world. The Holy Spirit accompanies us on the journey of faith, teaching us the way of Christ, empowering us to resist and reject powers of domination that would demand our allegiance and refreshes us for the mission to which we have been called.
We can and do receive and share this faith, both as a personal calling and as a community of followers of Jesus moving toward a life of fullness, giving witness to the ultimate reign of God and God's intention of a world marked by justice and love. This is a transforming calling and mission. We are transformed personally and collectively and are agents of God's transforming love in a broken world. We hear this
call, which unites us in our hopes and our prayers. It is the same call that took early Moravians to new countries, new continents. From them, we can learn to pursue the call as they did.
Br Jørgen Bøytler
Unity Board Administrator and Minister of Christiansfeld Moravian Church
Fairfield Calendars 2019
Full colour, 13 unique prints from individually drawn artistic impressions from Fairfield and celebrating its church year.
Price £5.00 plus £2.00 P&P.
To order one please contact
Sr J Warr on 0161 370 0132 or by email
(all profits to Fairfield Moravian Church).

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