Peter Scholtes wrote a song over 30 years ago titled, "They Will Know We Are Christians." We've played that song in church dozens of times, at Emmaus meetings, and even sitting around the kitchen table. I don't know the name of the tune, but it has a really catchy, Native American feel to it. If you close your eyes, you can almost see a group of folks sitting around a fire singing this song, and you can almost hear the drums in the background.
"We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. And we pray that all unity may one day be restored. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love."
That's the first verse. Kind of catchy, eh? Here's the second...
"We will work with each other, we will work side by side. We will work with each other, we will work side by side. And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love."
I like that one too, but here's the one I really like...
"We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand. And together we'll spread the news that God is in this land. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love."
In light of my blogs this week, reckon why I like that last verse best? If we're walking with each other and we're walking hand in hand, that means that we're going in the same direction. Paul talks this morning about the importance of unity in the Church. And as much jumping around as the Life Journal does, I don't think it's any coincidence that this text is the last text I'll blog on before I begin casting a new vision at First Church.
Not just to encourage folks to get on board, but to remind myself the importance of together...being one in the Spirit. It's very easy for a church leader to stop leading and start dragging, and that's what I'm trying to avoid.
Paul says this: "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort in his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
Together is important. Together is powerful. Together is scriptural. Together is also, sometimes, totally thrown out the window. The reality is, very seldom, when it comes to big decisions, will you get a group of folks totally together. It just doesn't happen. So what do we do then? That is the question I'm asking today. Do we wait for a consensus? Or do we take a group of like minds and walk together? And can we do that without leaving the others behind? Ours is not always an easy road to travel, but dog gone it's fun sometimes, especially when we walk it together.
Together is very important in the life of a church, but over the next few months, it is going to be extremely important here. I know I probably have some of my folks terrified, but I promise, you can relax. That ugly "C" word, you know the one..."Change..." has not even crossed my mind at all.
So if you're not afraid, walk with me. If you're more than a little curious now, walk with me. If you just wonder where I'm going, walk with me. If you're ready to bow your knees before Christ and confess that he is Lord, walk with me. If you're itching to help others do that, walk with me. If you hope in the future of the church, and are tired of the talking heads crying about how bleak our future is, walk with me. If you are ready to step out on faith, walk with me.
"And together we'll spread the news that God is in this land..."