No doubt many people look askance at the many denominations
that make up Christianity today. Wouldn’t our
witness to the world be more effective if we were unified and
spoke with one voice?
There is, however, a certain beauty in diversity. Different
faith traditions appeal to different folks. Some love the rituals
and symbols of the high church, the celebration of the Eucharist
with all the glorious imagery; others emphasize a more emotional
approach to worship, sway with the music and work to
let the Spirit move them. Some prefer an intellectual approach
to God, a call to rationally understanding the scriptures and how
they relate to the worshiper in the modern world. And for still
others, the Christian experience is all about service. Paul writes,
For just as the body is one and has many members,
and all the members of the body, though many, are one
body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were
all baptized into one body, . . . and we were all made to
drink of one Spirit.
We all share in that Spirit and the oneness of Christian
community no matter what our denomination, no matter how
we approach the altar, no matter which aspect of the Christian
experience we emphasize. Our variety exists to build up Christian
Our church homes should embody the fellowship and
understanding God desires. With the abiding of the Spirit, we
can be part of a loving community that exemplifies Jesus’ teachings.
Our unity amid our diversity brings the kingdom alive as
we prepare to be God’s people in the world with all the responsibilities
Gracious God, we give thanks for our churches and we ask your guidance in helping us to be responsible, committed bearers of your Spirit. Amen.
The foundation of the Pentecost festival is that series of events recorded in Acts 2, a decisive proclamation that links new life in Christ to the activity of the Spirit of God. At the heart of the church’s new life is its experience of the crucified, risen Lord, a reality also recalled in the John 7 reading. Psalm 104 celebrates the power of God in endowing the heavens and the earth with life, an endowment that is linked to the work of God’s Spirit. First Corinthians points the reader to the reality that the gift of life, having once been made, remains with the Spirit-led person in the form of a heart reoriented to new and marvelous deeds of witness.
• Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. God’s gift of Spirit animates the life and well-being of creation. Today, breathe in God’s Spirit; breathe out God’s praise.
• Read Acts 2:1-21. The church is the Holy Spirit’s creation to continue Jesus’ mission. What part are you playing in the ongoing drama of ministry and mission to the world?
• Read 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13. The writer asserts that “every day, people of diverse gifts . . . model by their example how the Christian life is to be lived.” How do you express your valuing of those who differ in worship style, theology, or doctrine?
• Read John 20:19-23. The writer says that Jesus’ call to his followers “is no easy assignment; it is not without peril.” How has being a Jesus-follower been difficult for you?
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