A Hymn written in the early 1800’s, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”, written by preacher, John Fawcett is probably the best known goodbye hymn that has ever been written.

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

The story goes that this beloved preacher of a small town, rural, faming community was called, he thought, to move elsewhere to preach the Good News, somewhere they could pay him better. With a growing family of four, this rural church could afford only to pay enough to get by, barely. Pastor John and his wife gave their farewell, loaded up the buggy, sold some of their larger belongings and were ready to leave town. Looking at the tear filled and despondent faces of their friends and parishioners, Mary declared, “I can’t stand it, John! I know not how to go.” John responded, “Lord help me Mary, nor can I stand it! We will unload the wagon. . . . [To the crowd], We’ve changed our minds! We are going to stay!” Mr. Bailey describes a scene of pandemonium as the crowd broke out in joyful acclamations.”
While they stayed for another fifty-four years, Pastor John Faucett penned the lyrics to this well known hymn, the Sunday after they decided to stay,

Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.

We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

The second and third verse of this hymn, reminds us of why it is good to find community together and why people do church together. It is in community when we feel the most supported and loved. When people come together to grieve, or to petition for a need, all of a sudden the growth of faith happens, and hope is kindled in the hearts of those who pray together. It is why we have funerals, memorial services, prayer vigils, and community dinners, to be together as God’s people joined in love.

This Sunday Roots of Life Community, along with many other ELCA, Lutheran congregations will join together in a day of service to the community. We will be remembering the tie that binds us together in love. Even if we are not physically together, we will be remembering that our brothers and sisters, in faith, are sharing the Good News, singing God’s story, and serving God’s people. Remembering: “Blessed be the Tie that Binds.”