I will admit to you I am worn out. I am worn out by the pandemic, the political situations, racism, justice and church culture. I am worn out by polarized views even in the church. I am worn out by the lack of two fundamental characteristics of the Holy Spirit–yielding church: unity and peace. So now I have said it. The question is what I will do about it.
I can choose to withdraw and not participate. This solves nothing except removing me and at times Christ from the equation. I have no idea that joining one side or the other will solve the problem either. As your pastor the option is to call upon the Holy Spirit to fill us with the mind of Christ that we may apply the “Balm of Gilead” to the community rather than the “Bomb of Right and Wrong” that we may be people of unity and peace.
When I came I asked what you want from your Pastor. I was told the church wants unity. This seems like a reasonable request and I share that desire with you as does the Bible. Will you join me as we, Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
A. B. Simpson shares wisdom, In Walking in the Spirit, “The Church in which the Holy Ghost abides is no mere sectarian fragment, but the whole body of believers united to Christ, the Living Head . . . and though there be diversities of gifts, it is the same Spirit; differences of administrations, it is the same Lord; varieties of operations, it is the same God which worketh all in all.”
It is Okay to have differences; unless these differences interfere with the divine unity and grace given to us which empowers us by the Spirit of God. We cannot surrender our position of set-apartness as beloved children of God. We must not take on the characteristics of our combative society—its infighting, intolerance, criticisms, and demands. We must not reinforce the unbelieving world’s perception that the Church is hypocritical, judgmental, and known more for what it is against than what it is for.
We must not forget that our unity is in being one with each other by the Holy Spirit to the glory of God. This is what unity and peace must be in our community. We the church are the tool God uses to demonstrate that in the world.
Simpson continues to instruct us as he writes about peace, “The earliest symbol of the Holy Spirit is the dove . . . the emblem of peace and gentleness, and the herald of the morning of the new world in the dark and stormy night of the deluge. It is the same blessed person, who, on the banks of the Jordan, descended in visible form like a dove, and abode upon the Lord Jesus, the herald of peace and love to a sinful world, and the emblem of the Spirit of Christ’s ministry. As the dove, the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of peace, the Giver of rest.”
Our responsibility as Christ’s Church is to provide to our divided and turbulent world a Spirit-united people in a Spirit-united Church offering our rest-Giver’s peace. In the chaos and calamity of uncertain days, we are to soothe wounds with the healing balm of Jesus not rub salt in them. Who will join me? Apply the balm of Jesus freely; be healed to bring healing, unity and peace.
Yours in service to Christ: