Well, that’s another Christmas done, and another year behind us. Many of us are on holidays, and many away travelling. It’s a great time to reflect – if you’re not holidaying too hard!
As we mentioned in last week’s Sunday Reflection, City Edge Church had the privilege of joining brothers- and sisters-in-Christ from Bread of Life Church for a combined service.
I had the pleasure of visiting a small church plant down near Geelong on the same day for their Christmas Carols service. I must say, it was refreshing to be able to join in without needing to think about or prepare for the next part of the service.
But what was even more refreshing was to spend time with other believers – all of whom were strangers to me at the time – and connect immediately and deeply with them.
There is a reason why that is possible: because we Christians are all part of the same family. We are all children of the same Father. We all have the same brother – Jesus Christ. We are all members of the one body by the same Holy Spirit.
What can be more natural than to connect immediately with family members – even after a long absence? Sadly, this isn’t true in the earthly realm for many people. But it should be always true in the spiritual realm for believers. We have so much in common, even when we are so different.
We all come from different backgrounds, speak different languages, are different nationalities, and from different socio-economic circumstances.
Yet we are all members of the same household – the household of God [see Eph 2, esp verse 19]. What an incredible miracle it is, that we should find so much in common with people who are so different to us.
As I prepare this for posting, we have just farewelled our daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters back to America after three precious weeks with them. It is always painful to say goodbye to the ones we love.
But as I often tell my granddaughters, the almost unbearable pain of separation is measured by the love we have for each other. If we didn’t love, it wouldn’t hurt so much.
In fact, love for one another is one of the most powerful signs of Christian faith. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” [John 13:35].
That easy connection – that love – should be a natural part of our Christian life when we meet other believers. In fact, it should come more naturally to us than connecting with our blood relatives who are not Christians.
For we have a deeper connection – a spiritual connection, a heart connection – with these other Christians. And they are the ones we will be spending eternity with.
So maybe today is a good time to begin cultivating those deeper relationships with other believers. Maybe 2020 is a good year to find common ground with Christians beyond church barriers and across denominational lines.
You won’t regret it. And the Church will be healthier for it. I pray that this will be a year when believers come into greater visible unity than ever before. It begins with you and me.
To the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.