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Categorized | From the Pulpit

“Unity and Maturity”

Rev. Tom Holloway, Senior pastor
Solon Center Wesleyan Church
15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs
(just north of 19 Mile)

All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten is a book of short essays by American minister and author Robert Fulghum. This book highlights the lessons that shape our learning in Kindergarten, and the message is that those things shape the future success of our lives. Things like sharing, being kind to one another, treating others with respect, etc. As we grow, we get more educated, and we forget where it is that we came from.

When I look at what is happening in our world, and in our economy, and especially in our government I wonder if we wouldn’t be better off if our government would go back to Kindergarten. It seems that all of the politicians talk about working together “across the aisle,” and being “bi-partisan,” while they are running for office, and when they get elected they can’t seem to work together at all. I’m talking all of our politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, congress, and the house.

In a time that we need unity, we can’t seem to find any. This to me is very disappointing.  We all need to work together. What we need is the one thing that can bind us together,  the one thing that can be the focal point of what we do.

In the words of the Apostle Paul, we have that. When we read the letter to the church in Ephesus we find this nugget in Ephesians 4:1-5. It comes under the heading of, “Unity in the Body of Christ.”

“ 1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Paul says to make every effort to keep the unity. This means that keeping unity is not going to be easy. It’s going to be difficult. The word effort means that it’s going to take sacrifice for the greater good, it’s going to take giving up some of what you “prefer” for the good of the “mission.” We all bring expectations and preferences into every relationship that we have. Whether it’s in the workplace, in our home, in our school, or in our church, we all have a vision of what these relationships are going to look like.  Often times these do not work out the way that we would like.

If we have a vision of what our job will look like, and after a while it doesn’t meet our expectations, we leave and find another job that we think will meet our needs.  Or we go into a relationship thinking that it will meet all of our needs, and we have a vision of what that relationship will look like and then it doesn’t live up to our expectations and we end up trying to find another one.

The problem is that our end goal is imperfect. If our end goal is satisfaction or happiness we will always be disappointed. We live in an imperfect world, and our government is imperfect (I know it’s hard to believe). But if our end goal is perfect then we can use that as our compass. This doesn’t mean that we will always do things perfectly but we will know that we can make adjustments to bring us closer to our goal. We serve a perfect God, and in order for us to be unified we need to be humble, gentle, and patient.

We have a perfect example here in Cedar Springs of unity. It is our “Cedar Springs Ministerial Association.” This is a group of all of our area churches and pastors that get together because of what binds us together. We don’t let the denominational differences separate us, but focus on the greater things that bind us together. On Sunday, August 28, at 11:00 a.m. in Morley Park, we will get together for a community worship service.  This is the 3rd year of our “United” service, and it just keeps getting bigger and better.  The power of the Holy Spirit is felt powerfully when we gather together. I hope that you will bring your family, bring a chair, and plan to attend on Sunday, August 28. We will have a worship service at 11:00, followed by a free lunch, inflatable games for kids, and a worship concert. The government could learn a lot from all of us in Cedar Springs!

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