I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Eph4: 1-6
In a matter of one week, this particular portion of scripture came up three times – so I am today writing about it.
As the author of the epistle sits in prison he still has lots to say. He longs for believers in Christ live a life worthy of their calling. In fact he begs them, as a community, to living rightly. Remember, it wasn’t a letter to an individual, it was a letter written to the Christians in Ephesus.
How do we as community live a life worthy of our calling? We have to, in community, figure this out and live it forward. It matters. The world is watching.
Further along in the passage Paul says to the believers “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I had the opportunity this past week to listen to Kim and Clark Moran, from Abbotsford Pentecostal, share seven disruptions to unity.
They are as follows:
- You compare your gifts.
- You try to do it on your own.
- You lose sight of the main thing.
- You serve the wrong master.
- You focus on your differences.
- We forget that we are all in a process.
- You want it your way.
Good, right? Found yourself, your community, in any one of these places?
Yesterday I had the opportunity as a Pentecostal/Evangelical to present at an ecumenical dialogue between Lutheran and Catholics as part of the Reformation 500 series. Around the conversation table there were a variety of faith traditions: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Pentecostal.
For those of us not part of any of these discussions, this is utterly fascinating and something we, too, can learn from. Roman Catholics and Lutherans have agreed on five imperatives. They are as follows:
1. We should always begin from a perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common even though the differences are easily seen and experienced (From Conflict to Communion, no. 239).
2. We must let ourselves continuously be transformed by the encounter with the other and by the mutual witness of faith (From Conflict to Communion, no. 240).
3. We should again commit ourselves to seek visible unity, to elaborate together what this means in concrete steps, and to strive repeatedly toward this goal (From Conflict to Communion, no. 241).
4. We should jointly rediscover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our time (From conflict to Communion, no. 242).
5. We should witness together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world (From Conflict to Communion, no. 243).
In reflection on all of the above, I think we can ask ourselves a few questions:
Have we lost sight of the main thing? How are we to regard others of different faith traditions than our own? What are the “charisms” that our faith tradition brings to the Christian community? What is the difference between diversity and division? How are we, as a faith community, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?
Have an amazing day!