Beloved Community

Heckert Baptism of Lord

Jesus’ Baptism – Oil Pastel, © Chris Heckert 2013

I am going to begin to use this blog as a place to share extended content that I reference in my sermons, or discovered in my research but didn’t use.  Its also a place to give links to art, quotes and other resources I use in my preaching.

This blog entry is suplementary material to my sermon, “Baptized into Beloved Community”, on January 12, 2014.

The Sermon


“Take me to the water”

We sang this spiritual during the ritual of Remembering our Baptism.  I have encountered this song many times, including leading it in worship in multiple settings, but it was this youtube version that really captured my soul and inspired me to include it in the service:

“The Beloved Community” – originally coined by Josiah Royce

MLK Quote:

Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the ‘fight with fire’ method which you suggest is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community. Physical force can repress, restrain, coerce, destroy, but it cannot create and organize anything permanent; only love can do that. Yes, love—which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one’s enemies—is the solution to the race problem.

—Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957

Other notes:

This week: we remember baptism – remembering not the event of our baptism, but that we ARE baptized people.  What does that mean?

We are loved by a community and claimed as God’s beloved people.

We are forgiven – As baptized people, washed and cleansed, we understand that guilt does not need to own us.  If we turn away from our shortcomings, faults, failures, brokenness, we find loving arms that receive us, not defining us by our mistakes, but giving us new opportunities and grace to move onward. (Lord’s Prayer)

We are to forgive – reciprocal relationship between receiving and offering forgiveness to others.  Followers of Jesus are called to the sometimes difficult road of loving those who do not love us in return and forgiving those who don’t ask for forgiveness.  Christian forgiveness is out of a sense of being loved and being forgiven that we offer grace to others, without expectation of something in return (not for the faint of heart, but transformational). (Lord’s Prayer, other references)

We are called to serve/minister– not to be complacent, but to take serious the invitation to be a sign of hope and reconciliation for other people. (Good Samaritan)


Categories: Faith

Author:Chris Heckert

Senior Pastor of Haddonfield United Methodist Church Musician, communicator, husband/father, seeker of a better way through reconciliation by the healing power of God's love


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