Read Romans 12:1-8
Dating back to the early years of the Christian movement, followers of Christ share a burning desire to find their place. Our place rests in service to the ministry and vision of Godís kingdom. However, the greatest challenge of seeking this place rest in the requirement to work for the kingdom in union with Godís will, rather than in union with the ways of the world. There is no single person who possesses the keys to the kingdom save Christ himself. As such, it is essential for us to unite our efforts for the betterment of the world.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of Godówhat is good and acceptable and perfect.
How we accomplish this herculean task is not dependent on our human perspective alone, but our ability to see beyond the ways of the world and to the depths of each personís sacred worth. Perfection is not an objective worldly matter, but a spiritual matter grounded in our ability to unite during times of great turmoil and times of complacency brought on by the comfort of peace. Vigilance in unity is but one block in the foundation of Godís kingdom, but it may very well be the most significant practical exercise in preparing the way for the kingdom.
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
We each have a role to play in paving the way for Christís return ushering in a new era. One part of the body belongs to every other part of the body, and each is responsible for the care of the other. This is neither conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, Methodist or Baptist. It is a plea for the followers of Christ at every point in their faith journey to care, to show compassion, to be for one another in the example of Christ who died for us. There is no challenge too large or cost too high in pursuit of unity.
But, the primary rule is everyone must be treated as having equal claim to the inheritance of the kingdom because it is not our individual or communal right to judge the sacred worth of any other person. To treat one another any differently is to abandon the single most crucial reality of the Gospel, ďFor God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have life eternal.Ē All those who believe will share in the kingdom, and it is not our place to judge the faith of another. Though, we must find spaces to discuss the differences in our beliefs as we pursue deeper knowledge of Godís truth through our united wisdom.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
We each have a role to play, a place in the kingdom of God. Whether you find that place with us at Clay UMC or any other of Godís communities, my prayer is that our paths may converge in the glory of Godís kingdom. May we be allowed solace in freedom from the judgements of this life and look to the glory of the world to come, the future of Godís New Creation. May this world become one in which we each experience an endless age of unity. It starts now! Come to the table! Eat, drink, and share in Christís company with one another! Amen!