11 February, 2007

What kept the Moravians motivated and focused on mission?

According to the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum, the Moravian Church is committed to the Unity of the children of God as a reality created by God in Jesus Christ. This unity has been granted and preserved within it as a Church formed out of various peoples, languages and denominations. Its very life, therefore, is to be of service to the Church Universal.

As the Moravian Church embarked on Mission, it committed itself to the victory of the Lamb of God that was slain as the hope of the world. It accepts as its central commission the proclamation of this message in every place where the Lord himself opens the door. As the first missionary church, the Moravians were very intentional as they sought to evangelize the slaves in the West Indies. They had a passion and a zeal for souls which knew no boundaries. How did they accomplish their task? Some had the Vision; some Prayed; some gave their lives to the Fulltime Ministry of Jesus Christ; some sent food and monies to help to sustain those who went to evangelize, while others encouraged. It was one community or team effort of persons who were burning with a desire for souls. In this way the unity of the children of God becomes visible.

In reviewing its mandate for Mission, the Moravian Church appreciated the inestimable value of each human being for whom Jesus Christ gave His life and counts no sacrifice too great to win souls for the Lamb. The church therefore recognized that its members are united by the Lord in congregations and are called to be pilgrims and messengers to carry the gospel to all persons and into all human relationships. According to the Church Order of the Unitas Fratrum, the first fruits of their witness are the pledge of the whole harvest.

The Moravian church was mindful that as the Missionaries went out, they had to take the gospel to those who were far from God. That they had to serve the youth by means of schools, camps, and other agencies. Not only were they to serve the youth, but they were mindful that they had to care for the sick, the aged and those in special homes. In short, there was a mission to the whole world. Finally, they were mindful of the power of the printed word, especially the Moravian Daily Text. The first printed edition of the Daily Texts (Losungen) was published in Herrnhut, Saxony, in 1731. The title page of that edition quoted the Text which has been the driving force behind Moravian Missions ever since, “The steadfast love of the lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness”. (Lamentations 3: 22, 23). 


Written by Rev. Dr. Cortroy Jarvis