By Pastor Wes Poole
I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field. – John Wesley
John 17: 11b
Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. – NRSV
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? – NRSV
Unity. We’ve been hearing a lot about it lately, in particular the lack thereof! The news cycle is inundated with it. In the midst of trying times, the call for us all to come together in a united purpose is, without a doubt, incredibly important. Whether it’s wearing a mask, getting the vaccine, or trying to heal the hurts of our nation caused by political acrimony and violence, “these are”, as Thomas Paine so famously put it, “the times that try men’s souls”. The more things change, the more they stay the same! As the Teacher in Ecclesiastes reminds us, “there is nothing new under the sun”. That may be, but we 21st century disciples of Jesus have a great deal to bring to the table as we attempt to move forward. 2021 has the potential of looking and feeling a whole lot different than 2020. New government, new vaccines, new challenges; we may not all agree on all of the specifics, but we should be able to come together as Christians to prioritize care for our neighbor, and the value and dignity of all people.
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. – A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.
I came across the above quote in my personal devotions this week and it really resonated with me. My own penchant for musical metaphors notwithstanding, this notion of our being “tuned” to the tuning fork that is Jesus Christ is a powerful image! Regardless of our personal feelings about each other; our opinions, our politics, or even our personal issues with each other, Jesus is still the center…the standard by which we order our lives and relationships. As we look to the year ahead with hope, let us remember that Christ gave his whole self for the good of all Creation, and the whole world is indeed our mission field. As St. Patrick put it so beautifully, “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.” Amen to that!
Let us pray…
Heavenly Father, as we strive to move forward together in the coming year, help us to keep our hearts and minds centered on our Lord Jesus. Inspire us to live our lives, individually and as communities, in the way in which he showed us; acknowledging and valuing our uniqueness while finding ways to live and minister in unity. We pray these things in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe!
Pastor Wes †