For many of us, this coming Sunday will be celebrated as World Communion Sunday. It is a reminder that though we worship locally, we are part of a larger body, a body that is united not by race, ideology or politics, but by our faith in Jesus.
But what exactly does that look like? How can we actually be in communion with our neighbors? Or our neighbor congregations? And how do we do so in such a way that we can honor our Lord while holding to our convictions?
Do we see the person on the other side as “the enemy,” or at the least, our adversary?
This past week I was in a long conversation with a friend who happened to have some different political positions than I do (at the moment! Lord knows my beliefs change over time). At one point, I noticed he started to get a bit angry as our perspectives differed. In the midst of that moment, I began to think a bit differently about the situation.
If we are truly brothers in Christ, no argument about politics should be able to separate us. Whether I am wrong or my friend is, ultimately it doesn’t matter. Because what is most true, and most important, is that we are bonded together in Christ.
So how can each of us be committed to truth, but also as deeply to our communion with God and each other? How can we hold in tension our deepest convictions with our call to be one in Christ?
Perhaps it begins by dwelling upon the truth signified by the common elements of bread and wine. That before we loved anyone, before we cared for anything, before we developed any of our deeply held beliefs, we were loved by God.
Not an emotional, self-serving love, but the divine, sacrificial love we see in Jesus. The love of the one who, on the night before he died, invited his followers to take the bread and wine together as a symbol of their unity. And then called them to find a way to be together in the mess of everyday life and discipleship.
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