Dear Unity Family,
In the month of July, we will commemorate Jan Hus’ courageous mission to bring the Spirit of Christ to the people in their common language and in the sharing of the cup of grace in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Hus, of course was a Medieval Roman Catholic Priest in the city of Prague, who felt the “Church” had put institutional authority ahead of faith and discipleship to Christ and Christ’s love for everyone.
In his 1915 Princeton lecture entitled “The Life and Work of John Hus,” Dr. Remsen DuBois Bird states:
Thus he perished, a man whose only offense even in the eyes of those who condemned him, was that he placed the Bible before the Church, the Lord before the Pope, and the individual conscience before the will of the hierarchy. Thus he perished, John Hus, a man who deserves to live on in the hearts of those who love the Lord, as a dauntless hero, a champion of the Holy Word, a martyr to the truth. Thus he perished, a man who was a great patriot and leader of his people, a heaven-inspired preacher of righteousness and as such one truly zealous for the reform of the church.
Sunday, July 9, we will share the bread and cup of Holy Communion remembering our Lord, Jesus, and his sacrificial love for humanity. We will also remember Jan Hus and his faith in Christ and desire to move the church away from institutional politics to a ministry of love and faithfulness to all the people.
The Moravian revival in the early 1700’s rode in on the wave of music. John Wesley and his brother, Charles, were introduced to the Moravians through their hymn singing as they sailed for Georgia in October 1735. On the four-month journey, a storm came up suddenly and broke the main mast. While the Englishmen were crying, a group of Moravians calmly sang hymns and prayed. John Wesley was impressed by their personal faith in the face of a dangerous, life-threatening storm. He became convinced of his inner weakness while the Moravians seemed to possess an inner faith he did not. It was through his friendship with Moravians that Wesley discovered what seemed to be missing in his faith – a conviction that through Christ, God had truly justified our existence, and in spite of our sinfulness, had forgiven us and redeemed us to our full value as human beings. We are now free from the fear that we are unworthy, or unable to live up to a perceived standard of perfection. We can relax and allow Christ’s Spirit to complete us, and lead us to a fulfilling life.
We can sing in the midst of life’s storms!
In the last week of July, we will celebrate Moravian Music at the highest levels. Please note the information about the Moravian Music Festival found in this newsletter and consider participating in a choir or band… and/or attending the many concerts during the week. The month of July allows us to celebrate our earliest roots and musical heritage as we bring our Moravian Christian faith to the people in our 21st century world.
-The Rev. Barry Foster is pastor of Unity Moravian Church in Lewisville, North Carolina. This article was first published in the July 2017 church newsletter.