As we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of our Queen’s reign we marvel how she has been the one constant in what at times has been a turbulent family. Can you remember 30 years ago? 1992 and the year that she described as ‘annus horribilis’? Maybe she has known further ‘horrible years’ as she has kept the family together in harmony?
Even prestige families struggle.
I knew these 2 family members for all the years that they disliked one another. But as a friend and a Pastor I managed to bring them together in unity and there was a public display of peace and reconciliation within a church service and it was indeed very powerful. But it didn’t last very long, maybe a couple of years if that. Then it all unravelled and that was nearly 30 years ago and today they don’t speak to one another at all. Neither of them attend church now. Their hurt and anger ate away at them.
These stories are sadly all too prevalent in any community but even more so when we see it in the Church.
Paul says “Live in harmony with one another.” Romans 12:16
There are deeply engraved divisions in our upbringing. Look anywhere in the world and you find historical disputes that the present generation don’t fully understand why they hate that tribe or family but they do. Anyone can live in harmony with what agrees with their position. But can the Jew forbear the Gentile and vice versa? That is the question. The answer is obviously NO. That is why we need more than ever the Spirit to empower our lives. Without HIM this is a nonsense.
Tomorrow we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the day the Spirit came to birth the church.
Shortly after that first outpouring we read these words in Acts 4:32, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”
This passage is one of the most incredible passages from the New Testament regarding harmony. They have all been filled with the Spirit again and the outworking was a united church body where no one was in need.
They were one in heart and mind.
People are never convenient. If you wait till you feel like it, you will never have genuine fellowship, nor if you wait for things to be perfect. There can be a fantasy of what community should be like.
“He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter … If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even when there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we keep complaining that everything is paltry and petty, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow.” Bonhoffer. a German pastor who was martyred for resisting the Nazis.
no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own.
We have no claim to anything except we are a child of God, a servant to the King. We have no claim on anything we have or title we have gained. All that we have all that we possess belongs to Him. We do not own a penny. But He owns it all.
Plato, the Greek philosopher of the 4thc.BC saw his ideal republic as one devoid of all private ownership. The people reading this were aware of this theory. The instruction from Paul would have brought an immediate response from the Gentile readers. What was an ideal is now a reality and it is found in the church and it is for both Jew and Gentile. That is still true today. The ideals of the world for harmony, happiness and love are a reality and they are found in Christ’s body, the church.
Who are you out of harmony with today?