On a spectacular May afternoon, just two weeks before graduation from seminary, a classroom of soon-to-be pastors were trying to focus. But even though our bodies were in class, our minds had already moved on to the next chapter in our lives. The professor sensed this, stopped lecturing, and said, "Those of you who already have calls, share a little about where you will be going."
Her question instantly energized us. The first person brightly said, "I am going to a small two-point parish in a rural community in Iowa," then somberly added, "The bishop tells me that they might not be able to stay open."
The next person said, "I will be the first called pastor to an inner city church in Detroit." Pause. "The intern there last year had to come home early because he was shot."
As each of us shared the challenges of our new calls, the mood in the room changed from energized to somber ... until this master teacher said, "Stand up. We are going to sing 'Blest Be the Tie that Binds'."
Together, we began to sing, "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the unity of..." The professor made her point without even saying it. On our own, we cannot possibly meet all of the challenges of the world. Together, and with the help of God, we can.
Gracious God, bind us together with you and with one another, so that together we can be your body of your Son, Christ our Lord, at work in the world. Amen.
"Blest Be the Tie that Binds," ELW 656
1 Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;
the unity of heart and mind is like to that above.
2 Before our Father's throne we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
3 We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
4 From sorrow, toil, and pain, and sin we shall be free;
and perfect love and friendship reign through all eternity.