One of the things that I most appreciate about the church in general is that it is a place where we find lots of different people coming together. There are senior adults and infants, toddlers and teenagers, middle agers and middle schoolers that are found in most congregations. We have a mixture of people who are married and never married, divorced and widowed. We have people from different income levels and different family backgrounds. There can be a mixture of political views, tastes in music and dress, and even loyalty to different sport teams. In some congregations, there are people from different races and ethnic groups and from different countries of origins. My grandparents in Brooklyn, New York met each other in a Norwegian language congregation. In time, the Norwegian service was replaced by an English language service. Later on, when the make-up of the neighborhood changed, that same congregation came to be have as many members with a Pakistanis background as those from a Scandinavian background.
What holds such a mixture of people together? That is a great question. In spite of all the differences that can be among us, we can still find much that we something greater that keeps us connected. The Apostle Paul writes,
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all
We do not all have to think alike in order to follow Jesus Christ. It’s okay if we hold different views. Paul offers some clear advice,
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The church is ideally the place where we can find ways to love one another, even when there are disagreements or differences between us because this is a place where we all recognize that we have been loved and accepted and forgiven by God who was willing to set aside all those things that kept us apart from one another and separated from God. Let us make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.