Wednesday, April 3rd
Link: to couple or connect by or as if by a link; to become connected by
Ephesians 4: 1-6. 15-16 (NRSV)
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all…
But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
If you are over 40 years old, you probably remember the benefit event and publicity campaign, “Hands Across America” in May, 1986. You may have even participated! “Hands Across America” was organized to increase awareness and raise funds to reduce hunger and poverty in America. Approximately 6.5 million people held hands in a human chain for fifteen minutes along a path across the United States. The project netted about $15 million for the hungry and homeless.
Wonderful blessings can be accomplished when people unite to help one another. This is an essential purpose of our church communities- to unite as the Body of Christ in loving service for the world. Sadly, we often allow our differences to separate us. We have opposing views, conflicting values, or even angry encounters that tear us apart. As we each take our stance- distancing ourselves from each other- we cannot work to make things better between two of us, let alone work for the betterment of anyone else.
Paul urges all of us, as Jesus’ disciples, to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” God has linked us together as Christ’s body, with every unique part joined and knit together. We are united through the One who is above all and through all and in all. We may be diverse people, but God has intentionally connected us and desires our unity.
How do we maintain unity? Paul helps us here, too. We live the life worthy of our calling! We are examples of patience, humility, and kindness. We bear with one another. We are gentle with each other. We speak truth. We love. We work to help one another and then extend that help beyond our group.
Our worship time is another opportunity to unite as one. We hear God’s Word of forgiveness, love and fresh starts. We share the peace with one another. We come together at the table for our Communion meal. We praise God together. We pray for one another. Worship is a time for all of us to extend forgiveness and grace, surrender our egos, and reconnect as one Body, united in the love of Christ.
We are meant to be together. We are lovingly and purposefully linked by God to serve as one. We may be unique, we may have our differences, but each of us has been linked to create a greater chain, one that God can use to make wonderful differences in the world.
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash