I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 NRSV
Okay, we've had the greeting, the announcements, the praising, and the prayer. Now we get to the sermon. And, I must admit, Paul preaches a lot like I do- he doesn't hold back any punches!
Paul says, with authority, that the church must follow through in the life God has called them. In doing so, they should not think of themselves either better or worse than others in the church, they must be caring and kind with one another and they must not get anxious in trying to hurry things or people along. In following through with God's call, they must "bear with on another in love." In other words, don't just deal with it but love each other through it. Throughout all this, they must do their best to preserve their relationship with the Holy Spirit which binds the church together in peace.
Can we say church argument? Dysfunctional fellowship? Congregational split? Church leadership disagreement?
I have yet to serve a church that didn't have this happen at one time or another. Most of the time it was detrimental to the congregation (two out of four of my previous congregations have closed). Obviously, these kinds of things have been going on for a long time.
But just as obviously, we still haven't listened to what Paul has been saying for almost 2000 years: God made Jews and Gentiles one in Christ so please be one in the church! God could do what seemed impossible by bringing these two groups together in Christ. The example of Christ should motivate this group to get along. And the main key to this getting along is love.
God, you call us all to a special calling. Help us to love one another as Christ has loved us. In His name we pray, amen.
Question for the Day: How can you show love to other folks in your church?
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims