A Mutual Admiration Society

Of the Moravians it was said that they were a people “who greatly admired each other.” There was an invisible ‘something’ that this group of people had that caused them to admire each other significantly.

That is very unusual!

We can all bring to mind countless examples of groups of people who don’t get along, or simply put up with each other. Church-split stories abound, and so do stories of community groups and clubs also fighting and competing within for control and competing ideas. Nearly every single nation has a political situation that has some level of opposition and confrontation. Human beings by nature consider themselves better, and their ideas right, and tend to look down on others. This “looking down” which is the opposite of admiration, has the effect of dividing people and the groups they belong to, of which churches are no exception. The key to working together is really “looking up” – which is admiration.

There are very few groups of people that get along so well as a result of admiring each other and working together. In fact, many people cannot think of a single example. We all know how hard it is for just a husband and wife to get along in many cases. For a whole group it is even more difficult.

This type of admiration was true of the Moravians under the leadership of Count Zinzendorf.

We all know about couples who “fall in love” and this feeling of admiration between each other causes them to overlook faults and be “blind” to problems and work together well. It is a feeling but more than that, it is something which still includes the mind. The mind may know of problems but it doesn’t seem to matter. With couples the ‘in love’ feeling doesn’t last long before reality sets in. But we are looking for a permanent admiration. This is what the state of the church should be.

As the leader of the Moravians, Zinzendorf espoused what he called “religion of the heart” which was where following Christ was something that belonged in our hearts and feelings towards each other. It was unusual in his day and is still unusual in our day. Christ is the one who said to “love one another,” and yet it seems nobody understood this simple instruction more than Zinzendorf and his followers did. It was obvious to them that religion (that is our faith) was not something you do but something you feel. Of course if you knew anything about the Moravians, they actually did do a lot for Christ and the gospel. However it was because their feelings towards Christ, and for each other were right, and it enabled them to succeed in the doing part.

So they were a “mutual admiration society” – which really should be a definition for “church,” and we should aim for that to be the case.