Friday, October 7, 2016

A Family Reunion

Several years ago my brothers and I got together for a family reunion. We gathered our families and traveled to a central location and spent some time together eating, singing, acting out skits, but mostly just catching up on what was going on in each other’s lives. Our kids got a chance to experience their uncles, aunts, and cousins who, because of the distance between them, hardly knew each other.
I recall that my family who is all spread out geographically took very little time to reconnect and bond. I think that is because we all have something in common. a common heritage. We are connected because we have a common history, shared family stories, a unity that transcends miles or years. Even though we are all different, there is something that makes us the same. We are Ermoian. We are family.
As Christ’s church we too share in a common heritage, a common history. And as brothers and sisters in Christ even though we have differences, we have unity because we are connected to each other as the body of Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Ephesians;
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:3-6
Regrettably Christians too often stay to their own little Baptist or Catholic or Methodist or Presbyterian families. Unfortunately the non-Christian world looks at the divisions within the body of Christ and wonders why we cannot get along better with one another. The early church in its pre-denominational days was known for its oneness and its unity.
This Sunday October 9th the churches of Ellis County are having a kind of family reunion. It’s called the “Festival of Faith: a joyful coming together of area churches with the intent purpose of celebrating our unity while downplaying our differences.
When people share with me their denominational affiliations I like to respond to them that they are not Baptists…but rather Christians who attend a Baptist church. People are not Methodists …but rather Christians who attend a Methodist Church. I even say to people who claim that they are Catholic…You’re not Catholic but rather Christians who attend a Catholic church.
By saying so we can celebrate our unity in Christ while acknowledging diversity by the churches we attend. We are Christians. We are family. Come to the 25th family reunion called Festival of Faith on Sunday October 9th at 3pm at Beach –Schmidt Performing Arts Center and celebrate our unity and diversity in Christ.
We're better together!

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