Communion Message for John Hus Festival

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Message based upon Mark 8:34-38

On Tuesday we remembered a significant event in the history of our country and on Thursday we remembered an event in the history of our Moravian Church. On Tuesday we celebrated Independence Day, a holiday in which we remember the adoption of the Declaration of Independence back in 1776. Amidst our picnics, parades, cookouts, and fireworks, hopefully we took time to remember. Hopefully we remembered how fortunate we are to live in a country where we no longer have to fight for freedom and our individual rights from another country.

On July 6th we remembered the martyrdom of John Hus, an important figure in the history of our Moravian Church. John Hus was a Priest who was burned as a heretic for criticizing perceived errors and teaching practices in the Roman Catholic Church. Some of Hus’ primary teachings were the following:

  • Hus called for a higher level of morality among the priesthood. Financial abuses, sexual immorality and drunkenness were widespread among the priests of Europe. Hus spoke out against these actions.

 

  • Hus was a very innovative preacher. He called for preaching and the reading of Scripture to be in the language that most people could relate to and understand. During Hus’ day Latin was the language of the church, and the majority of churchgoers could not understand this language.

 

  • Hus opposed the sale of indulgences, something Martin Luther 60 years later strongly spoke out against. Priests and Catholic leaders to help raise funds for Crusades and expansion expeditions were selling these documents of forgiveness.

 

  • Hus also taught the primacy of Scripture over church leaders and councils.

John Hus once said the following:

“Seek the truth

Listen to the truth

Teach the truth

Love the truth

Abide by the truth

And defend the truth unto death.”

As we remember John Hus this morning, these powerful words from Jesus from Mark’s gospel ring loud and true as well:

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. (Mark 8:35)

John Hus lost his life for Jesus and the gospel. Today as we come to the Lord’s Table we also recall that Hus was among the first to speak out publicly about allowing all Christians to receive full communion, being served both the bread and the cup. Hus understood the true meaning of discipleship.

Discipleship means following—even to the point of death. While John Hus sacrificed his life for his beliefs, Holy Communion this morning is not really about John Hus, it is time to recall our greatest leader in life. This leader is greater than our founding fathers that signed the Declaration of Independence. This leader is more instrumental in our Moravian church than Hus, Comenius, or Count Zinzendorf. Our great leader, our greatest role model for discipleship is of course our Savior, Jesus. Jesus modeled so powerfully what true following means as he denied himself, took up the cross and followed God’s leading to his death.

As we come to the Lord’s Table, let us gives thanks for those people who have come before us who have not only helped create a great country to reside in, but also a country where we are free to practice our faith. Let us come to the Lord’s Table this morning and remember those who were and are instruments of reformation and renewal in God’s Church.

 

The Rev. Dr. David A. Marcus, Jr.

July 9, 2017