In the early days of the Church after Pentecost there was a unity in Christ that bound all the believers together. It says of that time “all those who had believed were together and had all things in common”.(Acts 2:44) Individuals sold their property and lived as a common community sharing all they had. This is not a model for the Church to continue, but what was important was the unity they had with one another in their common faith. Paul emphasizes this to the Corinthian Church in describing them in terms of a human body each part being essential to all the rest.(ICor.12) Tragically today we are divided into thousands of Christian denominations, and that unity is sometimes hard to see. What was central to that early Church was their common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and their devotion to the Holy Scripture. Where we can share that commonality today we can support and need to support one another. We will argue about different doctrines, but wherever we can we must support one another in our common faith in Jesus, the Christ.
The Lord Jesus offers us blessings that transcend time and space. Sunday morning we shared in holy communion at my congregation in Maryland. Monday evening I was in Missouri with a group of pastors from across the country, again gathering around the Holy Sacrament. Two different fellowships, separated by a days time and hundreds of miles, yet truly one fellowship, brothers and sisters together in the body of Christ. The church is even more diverse than that, with its denominational divisions spread across the globe. Yet in spite of it all, in the body and blood of Jesus Christ we are one. We really only have one reason for being, and that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our joy and our life. There are many things that separate us, but we need to consider more clearly the things that unite us, beginning with His command, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Jesus prayed that His followers would be one. (John 17) Paul speaks of Christians being connected as a body, all parts being necessary. (ICor.12) But this is the one thing the devil has attacked with all his force, and unfortunately, done a pretty good job at dividing people and the church. He knows that there is strength before God when two or three or more join their hearts in their common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We teach our kids that there is safety in numbers, and it is a lesson we keep in mind for ourselves. All of you who receive this message are different, in different denominations, and with different understandings of parts of Scripture. But we stand as one in our common faith in Christ. Jesus is our Lord. We will let Him, at some point, sort out our differences, but together we stand under the glorious sign of the cross.