St. Andrew's
United Church of Christ

1320 Spruce Street, Reading, PA  19602-2161
"More than a Century of Service to the City"

Message From the Pastor

"One Big [Happy] Family"

"There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

We are living in an age when our culture seems to be trending in the direction of segregating people into ever smaller and more homogeneous groups. Instead of there being three broadcast television networks, each of them trying to produce programming that would appeal to as much of the populace as is possible, there are today a multiplicity of video platforms, and "narrowcasting" is the rule. Most of them seek to define their particular niche and tailor offerings only for that audience. Likewise, as people confine their engagement with news of the outside world ever more to their personal electronic media devices, they tend to open themselves only to sources that reflect and align with their own personal biases and shut themselves off from any contrary opinions, never making any attempt to seek a balance of competing viewpoints.

The beauty of the Church of Jesus Christ is that it necessarily consists of a conglomeration of members drawn from various segments of our fragmented human society. Male and female, old and young, black and white, liberal and conservative, rich and poor, urban and rural--you name the defining characteristic, and the Church needs to be big enough to include both people of that ilk and those who are their polar opposite! Ideally, the Christian Church must be all-encompassing in its reach, all-embracing in the welcome it extends.

It used to be said of the American Church that the most segregated hour of the week was 11 o'clock on Sunday morning. The wags who perpetuated that old bromide rightly observed that individual congregations usually come together in reflection of some commonalities of ethnic or socio-economic circumstance. It is only in the aggregate, at the denominational level and beyond, that the Church of Jesus Christ can truly begin to reflect the length and breadth of God's love for all.

That being said, it is within our experience of the Church through our local congregation that we confront the harsh realities of living out God's command to "love thy neighbor." Every Lord's Day as we gather for worship at St. Andrew's Church, we are invited to extend a hand in fellowship to each and every one of our fellow congregants during the passing of the peace. St. Andrew's Church family and friends gather together around the tables to roll Easter eggs or around the kitchen sink doing dishes, and we have to get along to accomplish our common task of being the Church, whether someone else is getting on our nerves or not, regardless of how sharp our differences are regarding the current political climate in the United States of America.

I suspect that one of the reasons for the Church's decline is that individuals have become so very accustomed to experiencing just exactly what they want in so many aspects of their lives. In the life of the Church, though, we have to conform to God's expectations for us, and that means including everyone and granting them our love and respect, even if we may not like them very much! Our worship, work, and fellowship must reflect the broad reach of Christ's Church.

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