Keep the Unity
This is a challenging time for the church.
Christian faith has always been celebrated, enjoyed and walked out in community. God has been gathering His church saying “I am your God and you are my people” since the Exodus. Throughout this pandemic, staying connected as a church community has taken a lot of extra effort and I’ve been encouraged by how many in our Redeemer family have made the effort.
We’re all waiting to see what this fall will hold in terms of school for our kids, protocol changes at work, the much talked about second wave and what worship services will look like at Redeemer …. once we get the green light to return to the downtown centre. As our church heads into more unchartered waters this fall, my pastoral encouragement is this:
Keep the unity.
The day the vaccine drops and our worship services can return to the way we once enjoyed them is a long way off – and I really hope I eat those words.
Unity requires effort because it calls me to focus on you. Disunity is effortless because it is the byproduct of me being comfortably fixated on me.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-5)
This call to”live worthy” is not a guilt trip, it actually reveals a gospel-shaped assumption. The assumption is this: those gripped by the grace of Jesus, will want to imitate Jesus. The apostle knows that this imitation is gradual (Romans 7) yet he always talks about it like its inevitable. While imitating Christ involves engaging our willpower, resembling Christ happens over time by the Spirit’s renewing power. [a]
When our worship gatherings resume this fall, there will be plenty of opportunities to be “patient, bearing with one another in love” because it will be quite some time before Sunday worship fully resembles what it was.
In the challenging days ahead, may we keep the unity and be patient, bearing with one another in love, and stay on mission by God’s grace.