Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Body of Christ

In essentials unity.
In non-essentials liberty.
In all things charity. 

I'm a denominational mutt. I've been Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Non-denominational, and Pentecostal. During college, I had a stint at the Episcopal church, but went to Sunday evening services at a wild Charismatic church. And no, I don't have commitment issues. My family moved a bit while I was growing up, and my parents just looked for a local Bible-believing church and put down roots. Then in college I got engaged to a Lutheran boy with Pentecostal tendencies who was directing a children's choir in an Episcopal church. I guess he's a mutt, too. 

And after tasting the many expressions of Christian faith, I am overwhelmed with LOVE for the whole body of Christ--in all its shapes and colors. 

I love liturgy, and my heart swells when I sing, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! Alleluia." before the reading of the Gospel in the Lutheran church. I cherish the rich heritage and I embrace the old green prayer book with great respect.

I remember with joy my formative years in the Presbyterian church. I am the sole person in my family that has only been baptized by sprinkling. I was seven years old and convinced that I wanted to make a public profession of faith. And though most of the churches I have attended since that time baptize by immersion, I've never felt the need to do it again. If its good enough for the Presbyterians, its good enough for me.

And how the Baptists love to sing those mighty old hymns! By the age of 12 I had memorized all 4 verses to most of the hymns in the red book, and I could play many of them on the piano. Whole sermons are put to music, and the beauty and truth of those words still resonate in my heart. 

The church our boys grew up in is Foursquare, and self-described as "mildly Pentecostal." That is to say, our church believes in the use of all the gifts of the Spirit, but they rarely practice the gifts in the Sunday services. You know, things are done in an "orderly" fashion, as the apostle Paul suggests. 

But in each of these churches, the Gospel is preached. The Bible is recognized as the inspired Word of God. Jesus is worshiped. Truth  is taught. Love and grace abound. Which is why I grew up believing that the Body of Christ is a wonderful thing! Like a quilt, rich in textures and colors, it is the different fabrics that makes it beautiful. If all the patches were identical, it would be a pretty boring quilt. And I believe with all my heart that no one denomination could possibly express the fullness of Christ on its own! We need each other in order to show the world the glory and greatness of our King.  

But today I am saddened as I read Twitter feeds where two prominent American Christian leaders are setting up camps to oppose each other--over non-essentials. People, this breaks my heart! What does this say to a world that desperately needs to know that there IS a Savior? What does this say about the transformational power of the Gospel? What about, "They will know we are Christians by our love?"

My dear brothers and sisters, will you join me in praying for the American Church? Pray for unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and charity in all things! 

1 comment:

  1. Yes. To all of it. Yes, I will pray. Yes, the body of Christ is a beautiful thing. We are His bride! Yes, the current division saddens me. Thank you for this insightful post.