Devotional Thought of the Day:
20 “I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. 21 I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. John 17:20-21 (TEV)
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all. Ephesians 4:4-6 (TEV)
2 Certainly not! We have died to sin—how then can we go on living in it? 3 For surely you know that when we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus, we were baptized into union with his death. 4 By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life. Romans 6:2-4 (TEV)
I spent much of last night in turmoil, not fully asleep, but hounded by grief.
Grief caused by the brokenness of the church. A Church that is not just divided, but shattered, and continually reacts to the brokenness with fear instead of faith, loathing each other, rather than loving each other, harassing each other, rather than praying for healing. I see other Christians, including pastors and priests, leading people away from trusting in God, to rail at politicians instead of respecting them and praying for them. I see the self-righteousness that brings all this division, the condescension of Christians claiming to be holier than the world, and groups of Christians holier than another. (and catch myself at it too… none are immune to this sin)
I wonder what happened to the church described in the Creeds Where is the church that is one, that is holy (set apart to God), catholic (united in our trust of God) and apostolic (sent, even as Christ was sent)
I grieve over what I saw yesterday, and today. I wonder what those who are being martyred in other parts of the world would think, if they see what divides us. I long to see the church be one, and yet, am so driven away by pathos, the outpouring of negative emotion, that I desire to no longer be a part of it.
It is black saturday. The day without the Lord, the day He found rest in the tomb.
The day we should find our unity.
Not because we are without Him, by no mean, we weren’t on the day after he was betrayed, beaten, mocked, abandoned, crucified.
We aren’t without Him on Black Satruday, when He lies entombed, crushed by sin.
We are there with Him, drawn into Him during His crucifixion, drawn into Him by the love poured out like a flood, united to His death in our Baptism – as Paul says.
Drawn into Him, called, gathered, united to Him in His death.
That is where we find unity, that is where we become one church, where we find the one faith, where God is our God, working through all who have been granted repentance, who have come to trust in Him, who know His mercy and love. You can’t be divided from Him, and as we die to ourselves as we are united with Him, our pride, our anger, our angst, our hurt dies as well.
If we are to be a resurrected people, a transformed people, a converted people, a delivered people, we each have to realise we are there with and that others are as well.
Unity as a church, no THE CHURCH, starts in the tomb.
Does that mean we will all get along, that sin won’t creep into the church, that we will all agree on every article of our faith? No, we won’t. That’s not what is promised, yet. But the healing that will be found will overwhelm that sin, the sin already paid for, and allow our hearts to embrace those whom Christ has embraced.
There is hope, even when we are in the grave, a hope we will realize tomorrow, as we exclaim, He is risen!
We are united in that as well, for if we die with Him, if we are united to Him in His death, we will be united to Him as we are raised to a new life with Him.
I am depressed today, mourning for a broken church. Yet, in the grace with Christ, I know there is Hope for tomorrow. I know there is hope for His Church.
For we will be one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. His death, burial and resurrection guarantee it.