Assembly 2023 theme
How can all the peoples of the earth praise God together? If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that even families are being torn apart by disagreement and conflict. How can we expect churches, conferences, and denominations, much less the nations of the world, to gather and praise God with one voice?
Last year’s assembly theme revolved around the Hebrew word chesed: God’s overflowing, constant, steadfast, and faithful love for us. Chesed doesn’t have a simple translation into English: we need many different words to describe what it means. It includes an outpouring of undeserved favor and kindness that comes from the generosity of the giver and not the deeds of the receiver.
In the Hebrew Bible (what we call our Old Testament), the word chesed is often paired with the Hebrew word emet. Similarly, emet doesn’t have a one-for-one translation but is multifaceted. We see it translated most frequently as truth or faithfulness.
These two attributes of God—kindness and truth—are fundamental in Hebrew theology and often accompany one another, especially in the Psalms. God’s kindness is powerful and God’s truth is constant and reliable. This is who God is and the very nature of how God acts toward us.
At the 2022 Assembly, we explored how God’s powerful kindness is the thread that sews us together. As we discern a pathway forward for Mosaic Conference, the 2023 Conference Assembly will explore how God’s faithful truth is woven into the fabric of our relationships.
In Genesis 47, Jacob begs his son Joseph to bury him in the land of his ancestors. Their family has a long history of jealousy and betrayal, as well as love and forgiveness. Jacob asks Joseph to hold those two realities in tension: “Swear that you will treat me with chesed and emet in honoring this request” (vs 29). Powerful kindness and faithful truth: not denying their past, but allowing it to be named, acknowledged, and resolved in an act of commitment and love.
What would it look like for us as a conference to do the same? How can our truth-telling be interwoven with gracious kindness so that chesed and emet are embodied in us? Can we acknowledge our fraught past while allowing undeserved favor to move us into new possibilities together?
While this may seem unrealistic or even impossible to achieve on our own, we remember and rely on Jesus, who comes full of both grace and truth. “He was full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God…has revealed God to us” (John 1:14, 18).
Jesus, the image of God, is the only one capable of fully living both chesed and emet. The rest of us hold those two realities in jars of clay, with humility. Even as we acknowledge that our love for one another is sometimes incomplete, may we choose to extend powerful kindness and faithful truth to each other as we walk together in our broken and beautiful world.