Originally scheduled for January 30
Perhaps it has never occurred to you, but communion is a major
source of the unity of the church. To understand why this is so, we
may begin by asking what causes an organization to become divided?
One such cause is “Ins and Outs.”
Unless diligently pursued, cliques will form and become fossilized
with time. But the church of Jesus Christ is designed so that
everyone has a place and no one is a “superior.” In Christ we are
all one. In communion we take the same elements to show it.
We also have problems with “Ups and
Downs.” This does not refer to the status of an individual’s task
within the church; we all know that different tasks are assigned to
different people. But sometimes wicked people who feel they are
above certain tasks; too
important to do the trivial. But on the night in which Christ
instituted communion he also washed the disciples’ feet. This showed
us that we are one; the Lord of the universe was not too high to
reach down to his disciples’ feet.
One great source of the unity of the church is
its common experience. We come from many different backgrounds, but
may I point out three things we all have in common:
First, we are all sinners. If you
were a sinner you wouldn’t need Jesus Christ. There is no sense in
the New Testament of being the right kind or wrong kind of sinner.
Certainly there is no sense of a sin being something you should be
proud of. We share this background.
It follows quite logically,
therefore, that we are all in need of a Savior. That Savior is Jesus
Christ, of course. We are sinners who have done something about it.
We share the same hope. The end shall
come and Christ shall return and we shall rejoice.
Let’s give some consideration to what each
individual can do to promote the unity of the church. May I suggest
First, there are going to be
disagreements. These should not, however, be conducted in a
disagreeable manner. A little politeness goes a long way in keeping
the disagreements from becoming virulent argument.
It should be obvious also that the
unity of the church is greatly promoted by its charity to those less
fortunate. Reaching out in brotherly kindness strengthens the bonds
of the church — and if you look around, you’ll find plenty of
opportunity to do it.
Perhaps most difficult: forgive — and
accept the forgiveness of others. After all, how will the “others”
learn to forgive if you will not accept their forgiveness?
In the bread of communion you consumed the “one
body” of Jesus Christ. We don’t have a variety of flavors; we have
only one body. One body in communion; one body, His church.