On holiday last month Julie and I were involved with a very diverse group of Christians, from an Australian sheep farmer who believed that the creation story was absolutely literal and that the earth was 6,000 years old to an Oxford theologian who could give a detailed and deeply intellectual explanation of just about anything. Nearly every church tradition was represented in the group yet we were united in fellowship. We shared communion together and we rejoiced in the fact that we knew Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Many differences…but one unity.
It was a lovely reminder that what unites us is so much more than that which divides us, to borrow from a famous speech from a losing candidate (Adlai Stevenson) in the 1952 US presidential election. We are not all the same, we do have different views on things, from Brexit to our tastes in music, but we are united in Christ.
We are one body, something we are reminded of in 1 Corinthians 12v18-20: “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
As I write this I am sitting looking at snow falling, covering the ground in a silent, clean blanket, bringing beauty to the plainest vista, covering all imperfections. Yet by morning the snow ploughs and gritters will have cleared the way, the noise will be back and in days or, at best, weeks it will all be gone and pavements, trees and people will be just as before. The beauty is transient. I am sure you know where I am going with this. My real excitement is that when we acknowledge our weaknesses and failures, when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of our lives, then we get a covering and a ‘beautification’ which is permanent. We get a unity in Christ which is forever.
Geoff Roberts (Church Warden)