Last Sunday (how is it already Thursday?) we gathered around the table. A robust group bringing the warmth and sunshine with the personalities in the group & we prayed. And then the check-in, the conversation about harmony/unity & how we can grow into this harmony/unity. And we talked for a long time because — as it turns out — we don’t find harmony/unity necessarily the easiest to live into. We talked about base-line beliefs, a core that is necessary — perhaps the “Apostles Creed” — though one might arguably want to add in there the Presbyterian Brief “Statement of Faith.” However, as mentioned around the table, the Church is open — Christ came for all — and while it seems rather appropriate & reasonable if someone is joining into the membership of (any) church to be able to profess the faith & the doctrine/tenets of faith deemed necessary in said church, to come to the Church that Christ establishes does not require this — for grace teaches us that God comes first, moves first, always invites. And we spoke of those elusive ideals of unity in diversity, as well as how there is strength in unity — I mean when we talk about the strength of a cord of 3 strands together do we not speak to the power of unity? And so we continued, making mention of humility, speaking to needing to have the capacity to look past or to have love be that which binds us — that which is most needed — that which is more important than being right (even when they are wrong!).
We discussed for longer than typical. But this unity/harmony is hard. It asks much of us. We must consider, when to speak, when to be silent, when to gently offer different perspectives — etc. We held imagery of a bag full of rocks bumping and rubbing against each other as a picture of community (not easy & not always feeling so nice). We heard Bonhoeffer speak of community being only rooted in Christ but that reality also meaning we need to be in community with each other. And so the reality is we continue to hold this topic going forth — because it is something that has challenged Christianity since the time of Christ (if not before!) This question of unity/harmony….
Quickly (and with a brief mistake in which chapter selected!) we turned to Luke 11:5-8 & Hebrews 13:1-6. There was not time to slowly engage them — they are offered as conversation partners….with a topic of hospitality to be considered…..(and the invitation to think about how we as individuals and as a church in life offer/consider/even receive hospitality).
But the homework…..the homework for this week is to (first) daily say/pray/mediate on Hebrews 13:6:
So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?
Think on this and see what happens. Repeat it. Live into it. And secondly — think of 1 or 2 promises from Scripture that encourage and shape you. Please prepare to share what this Scripture is (and where it is!)
Excited to hear how God has been moving since last week!
~ Rev. Sabrina Slater