Our Unity is in Christ
Fall is here! Football games, changing of the leaves, and cooler temperatures are all signs of change around us. What hasn’t changed is our need for Christ and being connected to His church.
I’ve been reading Francis Chan’s book “Until Unity.” This is an important topic, since there’s so much that seems to be pulling us away from and apart from each other. It’s an important matter especially in the church. He writes, “Many of our problems could be reconciled if we discussed our concerns on our knees before a Holy God. We need to stop thinking that our primary duty toward fellow believers is to critique them. It’s not. Our primary duty is to love them.”
Jesus prayed for us to be unified (John 17.20-21). Unity is not unanimity of opinion on every issue, but rather our shared and common faith in Jesus Christ.
Part of being unified is coming together for a cause greater than ourselves, and this certainly relates to life in the church. With some modifications and exceptions, the work and fellowship of our church has continued. Some of us are gathering in-person while others are doing online. There are also those who aren’t participating at all. This is a sad reality in churches all across our nation.
I read a helpful critique about this dynamic by Rob Dyer entitled “They’re not Coming Back.” He indicated that many of us in church life have been delaying the obvious by moving the goalposts relating to when people are going to return to participation in church life. The reality is that many people were nominal in their church involvement, gotten out of the habit of attendance, and aren’t going to be back.
I agree with much of Dyer’s assessment. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to reach these people, but it does mean the church is going to look and feel different post-COVID.
I’m finding this to be true in our church too. It’s difficult to know what to expect from each other these days, especially as it relates to church involvement. I’ve come to a point of working with those who desire in person and online activity, while seeking to trust the Lord with the results. In some ways, this isn’t much different with or without a pandemic.
We had “Favorite Teams” Sunday a few weeks ago and shared the Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. It was obvious that we didn’t have as many people for this combined worship service as we had two years go. It’s a sign of the times I guess. But, I found meaning in gathering around the Table. Our unity is not is uniformity of belief or opinion but in the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ. Regardless of what is yet to come, this church belongs to Christ and we will take comfort in that assurance.
Finally, I was excited to see so many T-shirt orders! We should have them back and be able to wear them in the near future. It’s another way to show our connection to our family of faith. First Baptist Church is indeed “in the heart of Clinton.”–DC