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Today I read for the first time the blog morningstory and dilbert.  With joy humor the blogger was reflecting on a topic that was very much on my mind today… that we in the church must love one another.  I know that is not always easy, we are all of us broken people redeemed by Jesus, but I think that is all the more reason to love one another.  Gosh if Jesus loves me (despite who I am) and he loves you (despite who you are) and if we put away our differences and love each other with a desire to serve God together, what could we possibly accomplish in the world?  .

Last night I was at an induction service.  Those are always moments in which a lot of emotions and expectations swirl.  For some it is a time when they hope that they can let go of the roles they fulfilled during the time of vacancy and let the new minister do it all.  For others this new minister is someone who is going to turn everything around and make all things new.  Yet others believe the new minister will understand that they are all older and the best thing to do is to make sure that he/she recaptures the past golden days with the good old hymns and overflowing
Sunday Schools.  The minister may have expectations about a committed and hardworking lay support system in the congregation.   A new relationship is being established, and all those expectations are about to be tested.  I as moderator had the awesome responsibility of asking the minister and the congregations to make their vows, and then pronouncing them to be minister and congregation.  

Then another minister in the Presbytery spoke to the congregation and their new minister with the charge.  A charge is basically a series of instructions on how to behave in the fulfillment of calling and ministry.  The source of those instructions are found through Scripture and especially in the way the saints of the past have worked out their calling to serve God, the world and the church.

Essentially this is the truth that we believe–Ministry does not belong to one person alone.  Ministry belongs to the whole church.  In fact the whole church is called to work together as a team, each fulfilling his or her gifts under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  And we all know that famous saying…. there is no I in team.  Morningstory and Dilbert wrote:

There are a lot of coaches with good ball clubs who know the fundamentals and have plenty of discipline but still don’t win the game. Then you come to the third ingredient: if you’re going to play together as a team, you’ve got to care for one another. You’ve got to love each other. Each player has to be thinking about the next guy and saying to himself: “If I don’t block that man, Paul is going to get his legs broken. I have to do my job well in order that he can do his”.  Please see http://morningstoryanddilbert.wordpress.com/ for the whole reflection

It is as if they read the mind of the minister who gave the charge last night.  His words were short, sweet and to the point.  He said “you will love one another.”  You the congregation will love your minister.  You the minister will love the congregation.  

He gave it not as much as a statement of fact.  Nor was it a commandment that  all were enjoined to follow.  The charge was given to point out that they were now a team working together in God’s kingdom, and that God had called them together, so in that working relationship and in the working out of ministry, of course they would love one another as the love of God flowed through them.  May that prophetic word be true for the new ministerial relationship and may it be true in the congregations in which we all serve God together.