Monday, October 08, 2012

A Chance for Unity Not the Name of Freedom

 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.  20 "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word,  21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us,(1 )so that the world may believe that you have sent me. --John 17:18-21 

These are just a few of the verses we heard in church yesterday for World Communion Sunday, and the sermon was about oneness among Christians.  While I found it inspiring and hopeful, at the same time, I couldn't help but feel a little bit sad as I thought of the Christians out there in churches that were not hearing about unity or taking communion in solidarity with Christian brothers and sisters around the world, but instead were being told very pointedly their pastors' opinions on politics and for whom they should vote in the coming election.

How does preaching specific political opinions add to Christian unity?  In many churches, due to the makeup of the congregation, the location, the denomination, it's often going to be fairly obvious which way people lean politically.

And what of the minority parties within that congregation?  Will they feel welcomed as part of the body of Christ if they are being told their political views are wrong?  Doesn't this just become one more divisive way that inhibits our witness as loving to the world?

It seems to me that World Communion Sunday is a much better option.  It is a way to be united despite differences, not a way to be divisive.  Is it so important to feel right about one's political position that we have to make other Christian brothers and sisters feel less than for not agreeing?

What did your church do yesterday?  World Communion Sunday?  Pulpit Freedom Sunday?  Both?  Neither?  What would you liked your church to have done, had you had a chance to choose?

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