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 (Ephesians 4:4-5, NRSV)
I am grateful to be a United Methodist. The United Methodist Church has a very visible emphasis on inclusiveness and ecumenicalism, acknowledging our diversity between cultures and faiths, but being first and foremost all members of the one body of Christ. One of the most visible is our joining in the celebration of World Communion Sunday, traditionally held on the first Sunday of October. It is one of the six special Sundays of giving that we celebrate as a denomination where we put our money where our central beliefs are. But even more, it represents a focus and commitment toward world-wide unity where numerous Christian denominations around the world celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion as a unified expression of Christ’s body. Admittedly, not everyone or every faith participates, but that must not deter those that do. It is when the very best of all cultures and faiths come together that we may best represent all that humanity is meant to be, and that which was displayed in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
We must also remember that human diversity is not only evident on the world stage but also within the very local community, also where we can welcome and celebrate that diversity. The question eternally before us is in what ways may diversity between us be manifest, and how may we recognize, acknowledge, welcome, embrace, and celebrate that diversity within our local communities. Doing so, I believe, brings us closer to Jesus’ instruction to love neighbor, while also making that love a visible part of demonstrating our love for God. Ultimately, a local community is the strongest and smartest when all its experiences, perspectives, capabilities, and energies are combined, and further aligned with God.
World Communion Sunday is motivating me to be especially observant of the diversity I can see in everyone I encounter, and how I may welcome that diversity into my faith community, making both me and my community stronger, smarter, and better. For, it is when we all are one body of the one Spirit that we best represent the one hope that is offered us in the One Lord. Perhaps, we all can use October as a focus month toward this end.
Peace and blessings to you, and may you be a blessing to all you encounter … Pastor Bob