Uniqueness + Unity = A Change of Heart

Overheard at a recent Major League Baseball game as a multi-player brawl erupted on the field: “Why can’t we just get along?”

Overheard at a recent political rally as multiple protesters clashed over opposing opinions: “Why can’t we just get along?”

In our current American culture, it appears that sports communities and political communities are rife with divisions and divisiveness.

But what about our faith communities? Are we, who are affiliated with different faith communities, “getting along” with one another amid our diversity?

Consider:

During a recent ecumenical gathering of members from different faith denominations, someone rushed in and shouted, “The building is on fire!”

The Methodists assembled in the corner and prayed.


The Baptists called out, “Where’s the water?”


The Quakers quietly praised God for the blessing that fire brings.


The Lutherans posted a notice on the outside door declaring that fire is evil.


The Roman Catholics passed a collection plate to cover the damage from the fire.


The Christian Scientists agreed among themselves that there was no fire.


The Episcopalians formed a procession and marched out.


The Presbyterians appointed a chairperson to appoint a seven-person committee to look into the
matter and to prepare a written report to the Session.


The Congregationalists shouted, “Every person for themselves!”

However comically different these behavioral reactions may seem, these distinctions among denominations invite us to ask ourselves, “Are we really that different from one another?”

We–who regard ourselves as believers in God, as followers of Jesus of Nazareth and as seekers of the Spirit—may wisely acknowledge that each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) Uniqueness as individuals is divinely embedded into each of our beings.

At the same time, our commonality–i.e., the image of our Creator God within us—unites us. The need to be loved and the nature to be loving are also divinely embedded into each of our beings.

These words, first written by the apostle Paul in 55 A.D., are fitting for us in 2016: You have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge according to the image of our Creator God. In your renewal, there is no longer Greek or Jew, barbarian or civilian, slave or free, but Christ’s love is all and in all. (Colossians 3:10-11)

May we honor our uniqueness and celebrate our unity. May we undergo a change of heart.

This is our calling and our mission: To be loved and to be loving, both as humans and as witnesses of our loving Creator.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara