The German language contains many compound words that are tongue twisters to be sure for those of us who are native English language speakers. Some words are fairly easy to pronounce and we often have fun with them bantering around the few German words that we may know. Each year our community has a festival that has a German name--Gedenke! In German it has a pronunciation of something like "Guh-dunka" but our little Texas town chooses to call it "Guh-dinky". It translates into "remembrance" or "thankfulness".
The word that I put in the title to this blog posting is a real German word. It is a long compound word that has a meaning of "togetherness, communal spirit, or sense of a common bond". It is the feeling one gets from being part of something much bigger than what we are alone. I learned about this word from reading an article that our son had written for the latest edition of the magazine for which he is editor, Zymurgy, which is the journal of the American Homebrewers Association. David has been editor of that publication for almost a year and it provides informative and interesting information to people who brew beer at home, perhaps in their garage or basement. The journal gives recipes for brewing, announces events for homebrewers to attend, and features articles that appeal to people who love beer and like to brew it.
David's most recent article in the latest edition of this magazine concerns German words and the meaning they have because he is fascinated with German words and is bilingual in German. He spells out that long German word given above and says, "It's the sense of inclusion and kinship you feel from being part of a group." Being part of something much larger than who you are alone definitely has a feeling that goes with it.
Many of us have known the feeling of what it means to belong to a church, to be part of the local body of the worldwide body of Christ. We belong to a church because we need that connection that we cannot get alone. We may claim our Christian experience on an individual level but that experience is made real in relationship with other Christians who share a vision of the world that we embrace. We may search for a place where we "belong" as a Christian, where we "feel at home" and settle on a place where we enjoy worshiping and fellow-shipping and working beside other Christians. We experience that Zusammengehorigkeitsgefuhl each time we are there with others. It cannot be experience alone, by ourselves.
This shared experience is something that we must support in many ways if we value it. We ask members to support the church with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service and to be faithful members of this local congregation. Without members fulfilling their vow to be faithful and to give of themselves in their time, talent, and treasure the church will not be able to continue into the future. This week at our church is Stewardship Sunday, when we think about what it means to be faithful in our vows toward our church and to be good stewards of all the gifts that God has given us. If you are a member, we need you to be present. If you are thinking of being a member, we need you too. If you are not a member, you are very welcome to come anytime and worship and fellowship and work with us. God's Kingdom is wide and large and includes all who will be included in it.