Once I heard the story of a young boy in a shopping cart trying to reach everything on the shelves as he passed by, as young boys will do. And his mother had to keep telling him that no, he could not have those things. But then they arrived at the checkout stand and there before him was all that candy. Rows and rows of candy. And he could not reach it and his mother told him no, he could not have any. And so in one last desperate act the boy yelled out at the top of his voice, “In the name of Jesus, I need some candy!”
Now, I don’t remember how his mother handled that embarrassing dilemma, but I think we might have hit on something important here. It seems that, in general terms, whenever we talk to others about One Church Pagosa Springs, they generally agree that there should not be all these divisions and that unity is certainly something to be desired. It is even, most agree, Biblical. That is to say that proof can be found in the Bible that Jesus himself and his followers and those who were part of the early Church believed that the Church should be one. One body, as it says in Ephesians Chapter 4. It is only when we begin talking specifically about how the church might be re-united that we run into difficulties.
The fact is, I have been told, the church divides naturally along issues of church government, doctrine and worship style. To try to unite the church around any of these would be impossible. (Though we know nothing is impossible with God). So what is left?
Well, I might propose that we unite around the fact that Jesus is Christ, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:31. And around the gospel of love: “Jesus said to him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’” Matthew 22:37-40. If the commandment of love is the greatest of all commandments, then it might also be greater than all the issues of church government and doctrine and worship style.
I have seen signs posted in businesses that say something like, “The difficult we do right away. The impossible will take a little longer.” Of course, the task of uniting the Church is impossible. That’s why it’s so important. It might take a little longer, but it is worth the doing. In fact, the impossibility of the task of uniting the Church in Pagosa Springs leads me to cry out to you now: “In the name of Jesus Christ, unite this Church!”
For more of my writing or more about One Church Pagosa, please go to www.jamesdsanderson.com.
We invite Faith Writers to submit to this column. 500 to 800 words. Join us in prayer every Thursday morning at 8am. Pray for the writers and readers and the freedom to express our faith. We are blessed to have this opportunity to stand for what we believe in. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.