Five days before Christmas, the newspaper headline proclaimed: “Good will? Peace? Not in this church.”
A 133-year-old congregation was being torn apart. The pastor was being heckled during his sermons. Competing factions were passing around their own collection plates. The police even had to be called in when the arguing got out of hand during a service.
That’s bad news. We wince at the public spectacle of Christians divided by jealousy and anger.
On the other hand, the good news is that this is a rare occurrence. Newspapers typically report the unusual and bizarre, not the ordinary events of everyday life. We read about one plane crash, not the countless safe landings; about one church that is torn by hatred, not the many that are filled with love.
Just before Jesus’ crucifixion, He prayed that His followers would all “be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (Jn. 17:21).
As that prayer is answered in your life and in your church, you probably won’t make the headlines. But you will bring joy to God’s heart and help show people in a troubled world that the Prince of Peace has come.
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love!
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above. —Fawcett
There is no place in the body of Christ for a bone of contention.