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Archive for January 8th, 2021

Getting Along

MEDITATION:

Written by Jill Briscoe, a retired contemporary professor of evangelism.  This is an excerpt from her work, “The Art of Getting Along.”

Harmony is concord or agreement. Another word for harmony is “peace”–and making peace is often very hard work.  Achieving harmony is hard, but being a peacekeeper once a truce is declared is even harder. It’s a spiritual art.  The testimony of a community of believers often hangs on the ability of its members to live in harmony and to keep the peace once it is made. Paul appeals to leaders and followers alike to be sensitive to the Spirit’s directives and to become ambassadors for unity. The art of “keeping the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,” in Ephesians 4:3, requires believers who are characterized by humility, persistence, and a passion for the body of Christ. We give God honor when we pursue harmony.  Sadly, other human beings are our biggest obstacles when it comes to practicing the spiritual art of harmony. Sometimes it seems as though the church would be a great place if we could get rid of the people! But how do we do church with people? How do we get everyone to love or even tolerate one another? How do we bring the Baptist and the Episcopalian together? The Methodist and the Presbyterian? The Lutheran and the Catholic? And how do we achieve harmony beyond the wall of the church in all creeds, classes, and groupings of people? Between Jews and Arabs, for instance? Between men and women? African-Americans and Caucasians? How do we respect each other’s traditions and cultures without reacting defensively and adopting a segregating mindset instead of an inclusionary one? Paul knew of only two ways: to ground all relationships in the one relationship all believers have with the Lord Jesus Christ, and to rely on the power of the one Spirit who lives in all believers to maintain unity… Discord within the body of Christ is a key reason why many people don’t go to church. As a follower of Christ, does the fact that our lack of unity drives people away from church bother you? It should. It bothered Paul, and he always tried to be part of the solution.

PRAYER:

Written by Scotty Smith, a contemporary American pastor.

Father, grant us grace and wisdom for our messiest of relationships, but also for the best of our relationships—for none of our relationships is beyond the reach or need of your grace. Help us to be the chief repenter in all of our relationships—the one most desirous of reconnecting, the quickest to humble ourselves, the one most bull-dogged committed to harmony. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.

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