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.