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By James D. Sanderson
Special to The SUN
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 10).
It has been a full year now since I was on my knees beseeching our Father God through His son Jesus Christ to learn what I should do with the rest of my life. All of my long-time ministries had come to an end and I did not know how I was to be used by Him. His answer to my prayers was brief and completely unexpected: “Unify My Church.”
I had no idea how to respond to this new call on my life. First, I began to search my Bible for Scriptural proof that this was indeed the will of God. Reading in this new light I found nothing but Scriptural evidence that yes indeed our Father God does intend for us to be one body with His son Jesus Christ as the head. Next I began to identify those among the congregations who are already doing the will of God. Those who have put your whole life into the service of the Lord. For them I have prayed daily and fasted weekly. On their behalf I have struggled to take on any suffering that change may cause. In order to place this calling before the people of God I began to write a monthly article for the Pagosa Sun newspaper, and of course to discuss the matter with anyone who would listen. Now I have begun listening to the stories of our neighbors door-to-door and by telephone so that eventually I might be in the position to share the Gospel with them, and to convince them of the One Body of Christ. Slowly and surely the number of believers who have responded to these activities has grown and we are now able to network together, building sincere fellowship together, by e-mail and in person to share in this divine calling.
But it is possible to agree in principle and still nothing be done. Change causes pain and for this reason alone it is easier for us to keep things the same. Several times over the course of Christian history there have been major upheavals that have caused suffering and even death for those involved. There are only two things that can be done with the suffering that change causes — it can be inflicted upon others or, as is the example of Christ, we can accept it upon ourselves. It is never my intention to inflict suffering upon others. Neither is it my intention to turn away from the truth that has been set before us: God means to unify His Church. He has chosen Pagosa Springs to begin this work because here we find a vast number of Christian believers who are genuinely interested in living the way of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is here that He has laid the groundwork of His Kingdom by gathering together the Faithful. I for one live in breathless anticipation of the day this miracle will at last be realized among us. I want nothing more than to be part of this miracle of oneness.
Having said that, it is my intention to live this miracle as if it already exists. We are one body of Christian believers already. There have been divisions between us but they are no more. We who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior are already the body of Christ. We need no other qualification. We need only begin to act as if that is true.
Even as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ prayed shortly before he was executed on a cross of wood I pray now, “That they all may be one; ‘as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:21-23)
For more information about One Church Pagosa Springs go to www.jamesdsanderson.com (see the One Church and One Church Letters pages).