Tuesday, July 23, 2013

One in Christ Jesus


Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Our pastors, Wallace and Emily, are currently preaching a series of congregational-choice sermons, tackling topics which church members want to see addressed.  Whether by chance or design, Pastor Emily gets one of the toughest, touchiest issues out there:  Creation versus Evolution.  Ouch!  I think if you took a "pastor poll," the majority of ministers would opt to preach on the Book of Revelation rather than open this can of worms!

Nonetheless, Emily approaches the matter, boldly and bravely, beginning with a story from her youth.  She is in sixth grade and is attending a confirmation retreat.  Finding it difficult to sleep, she tunes into a conversation two adults are having in the hallway.

"Can you believe she said she believes in evolution?  How can she call herself a Christian?"

"I have no idea.  Satan's been messing with her head, that's for sure."

Emily is shocked.  Beside herself.  Can't a Christian love the Lord and still believe in the possibility, the probability, of evolution?  I love dinosaurs!  Does this mean I'm not fit to be a Christian?

Full of worry and questions when she arrives home, Emily tells her mother what she overheard at the retreat.  Her mother listens patiently, and gives one of the best answers I've ever heard concerning this subject.

"Emily, Jesus taught us through stories we call parables, didn't He?"

"Yes, He did."

"What if, in the Old Testament, God is telling us about Creation through a story?  One we can all understand and relate to as human beings?"

Emily is more than satisfied with her mother's take on the situation.  It makes perfect sense!

Continuing with her sermon, Pastor Emily steers us from here to the importance of accepting each other as Christians, even when we don't see eye-to-eye on societal, scientific or political issues.

"Relationships suffer when someone becomes obsessed with the need to be 'right' about everything.  Being 'right' means somebody else is 'wrong.'  That attitude fosters division in families and congregations.  I know a family where the siblings no longer speak to each other because of opposing political views.  They profess to be Christians, but are they acting like it?

"To paraphrase Paul's statement in Galatians 3:28 using modern examples, I say there is neither Republican nor Democrat, neither black nor white, neither rich nor poor, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And, you are all loved equally by an awesome, forgiving, Creator God who made you to be in relationship with Him."

Amen, Pastor Emily, amen!


~

Was it ever so important to you to be "right" that you lost relationships over it?

Will you pray with me?
Heavenly Father, Creator God, You sent Your Son, Christ Jesus, that we all may be one with You.  Help us to look past the opinions and perceptions of others, to see them with Your eyes and love them with Your heart.  May we soon see the day when unity is restored in Your church.  Amen.

15 comments:

  1. Martha, when I became a Christian I was so free and in love with God. Life was choreographed by the unknown moment, where faith inspired each breath. THEN I learned about being right vs being wrong with doctrine, and how it can split a church—and a soul.

    37 years ago I became a "born again" Christian. Today I'm still in love with Christ, my spiritual brother, but I've put aside all the push and pull, all the "I'm rights" and the "you're going to hell for that ones". No more judging. No more measuring and disqualifying others from the family of God. God is love. That is enough.

    You said, "Being 'right' means somebody else is 'wrong.' That attitude fosters division in families and congregations."

    That attitude also fosters divisions in this world, creating an elitist "us against them" mentality. We are one. When will we finally embrace this?

    Sending love sweet Martha. Thank you for the thought provoking post this morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just "wow", Leah! You have captured the true essence of how we should act as Christians in this world. We do need to leave the judging up to God, and remember that when we point a finger at someone, three are pointing at us!
      Thanks so much for visiting, my friend, and so gratified you enjoyed the post.
      Love and blessings to you!

      Delete
  2. I really enjoyed this post. You have a very wise pastor!:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Jessica, that Emily is truly wise, indeed, and we are so fortunate to have her at our church.
      So glad you liked the post and took the time to visit. Thanks, my friend!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. I’ll never forget one night at a prayer meeting. We’d finished Lectio Divina, then began to share what God had taught us from the passage we’d just read and pondered. Then, lo and behold, a woman made a statement that ignited a bonfire of discord. It all boiled down to liberal thinking versus conservative. I got up and left the room, thinking they’d hush and move on to something more edifying. But when I came back from my little ‘restroom’ visit, they were still at it. That night after we got home, Sara called me and said of the other woman who’d disputed her, “She is no Christian. She’s a liberal!” Will the donkey ever lie down with the elephant?! I’ve never seen such discord as I’m seeing today. What’s going to happen to us Martha? You got me on a roll here, thinking about how we can all be one in Christ. Here’s a good article for you, in the same vein as your post today, “One in Christ.”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/zimmermantrial/
    Let me know what you think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Debra, what a story that is! And, how sad we can't look past our political differences and realize that, right or wrong, we are equally treasured in the eyes of God. And, I have to agree with you that there is more division in our society today than I can ever remember, and it does worry me. So, I pray about it, hoping God will send a revival to this nation.
      I will definitely check out the article you referenced and let you know what I think.
      Love and blessings, my friend!

      Delete
    2. Just finished reading the article. Fantastic!!!
      I had this recent trial in mind for this post and Pastor Emily offered the perfect venue on Sunday. God is so good!
      I've subscribed to Frank's blog so I can continue to enjoy his writing in the future.
      Blessings, Debra!

      Delete
  4. Powerful Martha. Leah Your Post is Profound :)
    GOD is LOVE <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for coming by, Tomtom!
      And, yes, Leah's post is most definitely profound! She is an amazing writer, too. You can find her novel, Cosette's Tribe, on Amazon. It is a read not to be missed!
      God is love, indeed, my friend!
      Many blessings to you!

      Delete
  5. Touching , soul stirring and powerful is how I would want to describe this one Martha.... thanks so much for this :)

    Love and joy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you took the time to stop by, Me, and that you found the post inspiring. Thank you!!!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  6. Martha pardon me if you get my comment twice. I think there was a hiccup. I think that wanting to be right all of the time is built on pride and I believe that pride is what keeps us far from God. Personally I don't care about being right. I may feel in my heart that I'm right, but I don't like using my energy to try to prove it. I rather have meaningful discussions about things where I'm heard and the other person is heard. It doesn't mean we have to agree, but we should be loving and respectful during the exchange. Thanks as always for your wise words and sharings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Tameka, and for your most thoughtful comment!
      You stated it perfectly here: "I think that wanting to be right all the time is built on pride and I believe that pride is what keeps us far from God."
      Amen, my friend. I couldn't have said it any better!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. Thanks, Martha. I love your columns and I love the way that you end with a prayer that sets us on the right path. In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no north or south...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But, one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth . . .
      Thanks so much for visiting, Richard! Glad the posts are uplifting for you. :)
      Blessings always!

      Delete

Give Thanks!

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. As our annual observ...