I’m back. I was graciously allowed to take a couple of weeks out of the pulpit to rest and recharge after a tremendously busy Advent season. I realize Advent and Christmas are busy for most people but we have worked pretty hard to “de-busy” this time of year so when it struck me I’d been doing something—work, church, community involvement, etc.—every day from November 12 to December 22 it was a bit of a shock. I needed the time to spend with family, friends, and even myself and I’m grateful I was able to take it. Thank you to Knox and St. Mark’s!
This Sunday’s texts presented a number of directions to pursue, as most week’s do, but I kept coming back to Paul’s first letter to the fractious church at Corinth. We don’t know for certain all the difficulties that church went through but we do know they were having problems with division. Paul is at pains to make it clear that division, especially over something as trivial as whose follower you are, was simply not a good thing for the church. The more I thought of “division” the less comfortable I was with it so I flipped it, and preached about unity.
Is unity even possible in this age of political and religious polarization? It seems everywhere we look we are expected to be more narrow, less open to dialogue and diversity, more entrenched in whatever it is we believe. We seem to have reached a place where being uncompromising in any and everything is a virtue; never backing down, never admitting error in ourselves or accuracy in the “other side.”
The short answer is, Yes. Yes, unity is possible. It might not be easy but it can be done. My words might be a bit of a help to you as you try to figure out how this might work.