Connecting Christ to the Community and World

Sister Act was a movie released in 1992, starring Whoopi Goldberg as a nightclub singer who after witnessing a mob crime, was put into hiding by the police as a nun in a traditional convent. Do any of you remember that movie? Whoopi’s character had a hard time fitting in with the tight rules of the convent and she was continuously reprimanded for stretching the boundaries. But the one thing she had in common with the sisters was her interest in music. And it was through music that she was changed by the nuns and the nuns were 
changed by her. 
 
The sister’s of the convent learned that living in their old traditions, while faithful, were not sources of life today. Whoopi’s character stretched their comfort zones, drawing them out of their insulated safety behind concrete walls into the uncertainty of the chaotic world around them. The Spirit worked through Whoopi’s rebellion to stretch the nun’s understanding. And the faithful traditions also influenced Whoopi, bringing order, responsibility, and prayer into her life. This vulnerability of relationship resulted in a wonderful ministry into the chaos of life. 

 [Play Youtube Video of ‘I Will Follow Him’]. Lyrics… 

I will follow him, 
Follow him wherever he may go 
And near him I always will be, 
For nothing can keep me away; 
He is my destiny. 

I will follow him. 
Ever since he touched my heart I knew 
There isn't an ocean too deep, 
A mountain so high it can keep, 
Keep me away, 
Away from his love. 

I love him, I love him, I love him And where he goes I'll follow, 
I'll follow, I'll follow
I will follow him, 
Follow him wherever he may go 
There isn't an ocean too deep, 
A mountain so high it can keep, 
Keep me away. 

We will follow him, 
Follow him where ever he may go. 
There isn't an ocean too deep, 
A mountain so high it can keep, Keep us away, 
Away from his love 

I love him, oh yes I love him; I'll follow, 
I'm gonna follow. 
True love, he'll always be my true love 
Forever, from now until forever. 

I love him, I love him, I love him 
And where he goes I'll follow, 
I'll follow, I'll follow. 
He'll always be my true love, my true love, 
My true love from now until forever, 
Forever, forever. 

There isn't an ocean too deep, 
A mountain so high it can keep, nothing can keep us away, 
Away from his love. 
 
There are some songs that affect me more than others. But this one especially moves me in the context of connecting Christ to the community and the world. I will follow Him wherever he may go. There isn’t an ocean too deep, a mountain so high it can keep us away from his love. 
 
I will follow him…releasing my grasp of rules, expectations, and rituals that divide us from the community. May God give us the strength and humility to open our gripped hands to welcome others, uniting and reconciling us with one another in the presence of a living God that makes a difference today. Lord let them see Jesus in our acceptance of others just as Jesus opened himself to us, sinners. 

I will follow him…into the grieving uncomfortable lives of families who lost loved ones within our local community and faith community. And not only in the immediate aftermath of loss but in long-term relationships, caring about the ongoing lives of others beyond times of need. Lord let them see Jesus in our presence and compassion and let us see Jesus in them. 
 
I will follow him…as the Prophet Amos wrote, into the poor neighborhoods where there is little to eat, little to wear, and little hope. Into a place where our pride is humbled and we are stretched out of our comfort zones of traditions, cliques, and the church building. Provide us the courage to meet face to face with those who are different, not judging, not trying to make others like us, but opening ourselves to learn from them. Lord, let them see Jesus in the sharing of our blessings to those who have little and let us see Jesus in them. 
 
I will follow him…as spoken in 1 Timothy, into the world where priorities are based on accomplishments and accumulations, recognizing that God’s love and grace is not dependent upon our actions. May our hearts be filled with prayers of intercession for our leaders in the church, communities, and nations, whether we agree with them or not, that God would be our guide. Lord, humble us to realize that nothing that we have is our own and convict us to confess of our selfishness. Motivate us to share your theme of giving of ourselves as much as our possessions. Lord, let them see Jesus in our patience and respect for each other’s different opinions and beliefs and let us see Jesus in them. 
 
I will follow him…into the path of forgiveness that lets go of the guilt, shame, anger, and resentment of the past. A forgiveness that doesn’t justify the actions of those who have hurt us or the actions that we have directed toward others, but releases those actions from controlling us. Forgiveness that we accept for ourselves completely, so that we may also forgive the other. Lord, let them see Jesus in our hearts of love and mercy that wipes away guilt and shame and let us see Jesus in them.  

Finally, I will follow him…as in the Gospel of Luke, to use wisdom and prudence while sharing God’s grace. We are called to offer mercy in difficult situations, giving up the need for profit or the need to be right in order to help the suffering other. In his parable, Jesus explains that no matter how we prepare for the future, it is out of our control. Our strength comes from relationships with others, all of us called to help each other in times of need. 
 
Connecting Christ to the community and world is about connecting our words of faith to actions. Discipleship can be witnessed through our loving, thankful, and merciful lives of faith. Does the community see Jesus through us? Let’s go out and be humble yet courageous, compassionate yet strong, and wise yet merciful disciples of Jesus. Amen.