Unity’s Watchword for 2020

On Sunday, December 29, 2019, ushers distributed baskets of  “watchwords” for 2020 to those in attendance. Pastor Barry invited everyone to select their own personal “Watchword” for the year. He selected the following text for the congregation.

“Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15

A Note from Pastor Barry about our 2020 Watchword

It is accepted among New Testament scholars that St. Paul’s longest ministry relationship is with this new Christian congregation he started in Corinth. Today, we have two surviving letters that he wrote to this congregation. Biblical scholars have noted that within these two letters are references to five letters that Paul wrote to them and one that the congregation wrote back to Paul.
Archaeological scholars have found fragments of three of those five letters.

The city of Corinth is within 50 miles of both Athens and Delphi – the religious centers of ancient Greece. To think that it was a difficult place to plant a “new religious community” is an understatement. Not only is Paul “re-defining” Judaism and the prominence of the Torah, he is also presenting a new idea of faith in “God’s Messiah” – who is none other than Jesus, a lowly traveling rabbi who gathered a following for his cause of bringing in a new “kingdom” or new “understanding of God’s intent,” and was falsely accused, condemned, and crucified. Yet, he came back from death and inspired his disciples to continue the cause, and even appeared to Paul and commissioned him to go spread this new religious idea to the Jews who would hear and accept it, but mostly, Paul saw his mission as the messenger to the Gentiles (in this case, Greeks) who would embrace God’s mighty work of redemption for humanity through Jesus, his Messiah.

Earlier in chapter four, Paul describes his own troubles and sufferings as an accepted part of his calling. He infers this because he saw a connection with the sufferings of Jesus. And yet, for Paul,
it is through suffering, it is through weakness, it is through risking one’s own future for the sake of the “cause” that God’s grace is received.

Here in chapter four, verse fifteen, we have Paul’s affirmation that those who enter into this endeavor of bringing the gospel of Christ to as many neighborhoods as possible, will experience this
result: Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

It seems that extending grace to more and more people is our calling. This is the essential purpose. All others are ministerial – important for fulfilling needed tasks – but not our main goal.

God’s blessing be upon us as we enter the two thousand and twentieth year of our Lord; and the fortieth year of our congregation.

The Tradition of the “Watchword”

The roots of this long-standing tradition go back to the Renewed Moravian Church, a small group of refugees forming their own community of faith on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludvig von Zinzendorf, a Saxon nobleman.

On May 3, 1728, during the evening service, Count Zinzendorf gave the fledgling congregation a “watchword” for the next day. It was to be a “Losung” (watchword) to accompany them through the whole day.

Thereafter one or more persons of the congregation went daily to each of the 32 houses in Herrnhut to bring them the watchword for the day, and engage the families in pastoral conversations about the text.

From this oral tradition, the Daily Texts soon became fixed in printed form. Zinzendorf compiled 365 watchwords for the year and the first edition of the Losungen was published for 1731. Now printed in over 51 different languages and dialects and with an annual press run of nearly one and a half million, the Daily Texts is probably the most widely read devotional guide in the world, next to the Bible itself.

“The watchword is either a promise, an encouragement, an admonition or word of comfort; the doctrinal text contains a point of revealed doctrine.”

By 1812 it was established that all watchwords would be drawn by lot from a selection of Old Testament texts, and the doctrinal texts would be selected from the New Testament. By the end of the nineteenth century, the custom was established to relate the two texts in theme or thought.

Over the years, congregations began a tradition of distributing scriptures for people to select their own personal watchword (a scripture to guide or inspire them through the year) during the Watchnight (New Year’s Eve) Service or at a service held near the first of the new year.

Christmas at Unity! 2019 Events

Our neighbors and their families are invited to celebrate Christmas with us at Unity Moravian Church by attending one or all of these events:

Sunday, December 1         

Candle Trimming (5:30pm)
Bring your family and learn how to “dress” the hundreds of beeswax candles in special red paper trim used for our traditional Christmas lovefeast and candle services.  We enjoy snacks together once the work is done! Kid-friendly but fun for all ages! Free.

Salem Community Orchestra Concert (7:00pm)
Join us in the sanctuary for a merry old time! The orchestra will share a variety of carols and medleys designed to get you in the Christmas spirit! Free to all.

Sunday, December 15       

MoravianXmasInLewisvlleTransMoravian Christmas (3:00pm) and Children’s Lovefeast & Candle Service (4:30pm)
This interactive community open house and craft fair is free to everyone! Experience the history, music, and traditions of the Moravians, one of the world’s oldest churches. Buy unique gifts, chicken pies, and baked goods for the holidays. Enjoy free sugar cake, cookies, hot cocoa, and lovefeast coffee. Plenty of craft activities for the kids and young at heart. Stay for our children’s lovefeast at 4:30pm, a noisy and joyous worship experience where you can share in a symbolic meal, become part of the Christmas story, and sing carols. Come as you are!

  • 3:00pm: Moravian Christmas (crafts, baked goods, snacks, demonstrations of Moravian traditions such as star and candle making)
  • 3:45pm: Unwrapping the Christmas Creche (For children: each figure comes to life!)
  • 4:15pm: The Christmas Putz (presentation of Christmas nativity scenes)
  • 4:30pm: Interactive lovefeast and candle service begins

Tuesday, Dec. 24    

Christmas Eve Lovefeast & Candle Service (4pm & 7pm)
Join us at 4pm and 7pm on December 24th for our Christmas Eve Lovefeast and Candle Services. A brass band plays beforehand to welcome all inside for this beautiful worship service sure to get you in the Christmas spirit! Come early to enjoy the band prelude and get a seat. Nursery is provided.

All events take place at Unity Moravian Church at 8300 Concord Church Road in Lewisville, NC.  Read more about the Moravians at https://www.moravian.org/.

Please share this printable schedule with your friends and family.