This last Sunday before Advent is known as Christus Rex Sunday. Christus Rex means “Christ the King”. In looking at the risen and crowned Christ, we can perhaps forget that there were times in the life of our Lord that He needed the assurance of God’s presence. In the wilderness, on the Mount of Transfiguration, and most deeply in the garden. Throughout His life, Jesus found God in prayer, and also in community and fellowship.
The first thing Jesus did was to form a community. He asked some rather unexpected men to follow him on his journey. Among them were fishermen, a tax collector, a questioner, and (ultimately) a traitor. Yet, with these men, Jesus created a community that supported Him in ministry and whom He entrusted with ministry.
We might look at them and say that they were an unlikely bunch to build a new ministry with. After all, at the most crucial time, when He needed them most, they abandoned him and fled to protect their own skins.
Still, Jesus trusted them with the message of a new Way of Life. After the Resurrection, He tells Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21: 15-17) and commissions them all to “Go to all the word and proclaim the Good News” (Mark 16:15). He tells them “go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always.” (Matthew 25:19-20)
We are part of that community that Jesus started. It is essential that we remain in community with each other for mutual support, and because it is with one another that we can experience God in the Thin Place that is Community.
The past 2 weekends I have experienced two separate communities coming together for retreat and leaving inspired and invigorated for ministry. On Nov. 9-10, a group of Women in the Diocese of the Rio Grande came together and did some joyful visioning of ministry. Last weekend, a group of men and women who have been active in the renewal movement known as Cursillo came together to start rebuilding that ministry.
In both cases, it was within the community of friends old and new that God was discovered and the Holy Spirit was felt in the love, sharing, friendship, and yes the work of planning, dreaming, discussing, and working together.
We can, sometimes, fall into the trap of thinking we can do it all by ourselves, but it is in and within the community that we really can accomplish ministry and hear the voice of God saying ‘Go, proclaim, preach, heal, teach for I am with you always when 2 or 3 are gathered together in my Name!’
Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent! The church year starts again.