We are one.
Since the moment God created us and walked among us, we have been connected to God. Since God declared, “It is not good that we be alone,” we have been connected to each other.
Connections matter. My family gathered together for Thanksgiving from different parts of the state and country. We shared food and fellowship together. My family connection matters, because it is a connection that makes a difference. Family connection reminds me where I come from and who I am. It reminds me that I am someone worth beholding even when I feel worthless.
My family does not always agree. We have Calvinists and Wesleyans. We have Georgia and Georgia Tech fans (which carries more weight than theology some years). Even in the differences, there is something inside all of us that longs for deep, defining connection. This mystical, family connection is larger than any individual. How is it that I gain strength, love, peace, and joy from this connection even though we do not agree on all things?
Last General Conference; our United Methodist family talked of schism. Some stated, “We can’t get along on the issues, so let us divide our assets and go our separate ways.” That sounds like divorce. I am amazed at how easily we will throw around the idea of “amicable separation”, as if any separation of one body can be amicable. Try convincing someone it is in their best interest to be split in half. Not even TV know-it-all Dr. Gregory House can repair that breach.
United Methodists are family. We are not a perfect family – no family is. There are the good aunts, the obnoxious uncles, grandpas who tell the same stories every year, young cousins who think they know it all, mothers who always have a place for us, and fathers who stumble over words attempting to articulate their love. In spite of all the differences –
We are one.
Whoever said it was impossible to live together with differences? Scripture doesn’t teach that. In Ephesians 4, Paul writes, “making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I Peter 3:8 states, “all of you, have unity of spirit.” I have not been able to determine how Christians can use scripture to justify breaking apart the body of Christ.
Will United Methodists’ great and noble achievement be that we split our family? I hope not. I hope our great witness will reveal how we lived together with differences. There exists too much fear and isolation in the world without the church contributing to the disconnection. Christ came to do away with that. Let us be the church that stands strongly for what we believe, while proclaiming our unity. As for me, I will stand with my family – even my Uncle Teed and the others I may not see eye to eye with. For the love of Christ and for the love of the world let the Church proclaim boldly –
We are one.