People of the Red Cup

People of the Red Cup

I ran across something recently by S. R. Fisher, spouse of an Army chaplain, as she described what it is like for her meeting people from other faith traditions at their various assignments. They ask about her/his denomination because they may have heard about Baptists, or Methodists, or Lutherans, or Roman Catholics, but for many, they are unfamiliar with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She has the opportunity to share about who we are and why it is important that we are who we are. Her summary statement was the first thing to catch my attention: We are diverse, we are faithful, we are God’s people but not God’s only people. We are the Disciples of Christ: People of the (Red) Cup. They also have humorous (to us) perceptions of the Chalice and Cross we use as our “brand”. She goes on to explain why THIS red cup matters. (Edited for length.)

The red cup means that the Table is our focus.  This red chalice – representative of what was used by Christ during the Last Supper – shows that we are people of the Table. We have differing interperetations of the Bible, and have differing ways of living out our faith, but the Table unifies us.

The red cup means that ALL are welcome to the Table. We welcome all to the Table as God has welcomed us. There is no ten-page doctrinal statement to sign, no list of rules by which we must abide. We require no proof or documentation to partake. We do not tell anyone they aren’t good enough – or anything enough – to celebrate the Lord’s Table. 

The red cup means that we are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.  As an Army wife, I am ever aware of the fragmentation of our world, of the conflicts that cause blood to be shed, families to be torn apart, and people everywhere to draw lines in the sand about who is in and who is out and why. People are hurt by the church; people suffer with loneliness and suffer because of oppression. Disconnection leads to all sorts of tragedies. We are continually fragmented from the earth and the interconnectedness of all life. And yet, as people of God, we are called to bring wholeness. We are called to live into God’s realm in the earth today, not only waiting for some future hope, but making that hope a reality now. I cannot think of any greater identity statement for a denomination. Which is why… 

The red cup means that I am home. Brand recognition matters. Driving through a new community, a sign that says “Christian Church” could mean almost anything. But when I see that little red chalice with St. Andrew’s Cross? I know I’m home. We’ve been to Disciples churches all over the country, and each is remarkably different. And yet, in each, we are welcome; in each, we worship God together; in each, we celebrate communion every Sunday; in each, we are home.