Dance of unity
Pastors offer cure for ‘the ache in our hearts’
Stressed by conflict and worried that congregations might leave, members of Western District Conference needed a word from the Lord July 6-8 in Oklahoma City. Two pastors brought it: God desires unity in the body of Christ.
What could be more obvious? And what could be more difficult?
The word from the pastors could apply to any group of Christians struggling with divisive issues.
For Western District Conference of Mennonite Church USA — and many other conferences and denominations — the issue of the day is homosexuality. And yet Christian unity should transcend this point of disagreement.
Eugene Thieszen, pastor of Herold Mennonite Church at Cordell, Okla., presented a theological key to unity in his Sunday morning sermon. In John 17, the weekend’s theme scripture, Jesus prays that his disciples will be one “as we are one.” “We,” in this case, means Father and Son — two-thirds of the Trinity. With the Holy Spirit completing it, the Trinity is a community of love, Thieszen said. It is the foundation of all oneness.
Thieszen described the relationship of the Father, Son and Spirit as a dance. At the center is love, because God is love. As we learn the Trinity’s dance steps, love binds us together — with God and with others.
Our best efforts to make unity happen may fail. But if we redirect our attention from striving with each other and simply learn to dance with the Trinity, we can’t help but create our own community of love.
In his two messages, Chuck Neufeld, conference minister of Illinois Mennonite Conference, suggested four questions as a test of unity:
Is Christ Lord?
Is Scripture authoritative?
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