If you were with us on Sunday, you know we had an eventful morning. We also began a new sermon series for the new year from the book of Acts that I couldn’t be more excited about! Part of our focus in the intro message of the series was the repeated use of the word “together” to describe the church in Acts. They were together “in one accord” (no more Honda jokes, I promise) and experienced a great sense of unity in the midst of their community.
You may have heard me speak of my collection of church cartoons, most of which poke a little fun at the way we do church from time to time. I found one last week that I considered using in the sermon, but the caption was small and would have been hard to read and I just knew it would have bombed. So at the risk of bombing even more, I’ll describe the cartoon to you and you can use your imagination.
It’s a single frame, and in it there’s a young guy talking to an apparent “religious leader.” The youth has spiked hair, an earring and a chain around his neck and all the trendy clothes. Apparently this youth has made some kind of religious commitment. The religious leader is standing before the youth and saying, “You know young man that this means you are going to have to dress normally.”
Here’s where the irony and humor of the cartoon comes in. When you see the religious leader he is wearing a bishop’s hat that rises up about two feet with a cross on it. He is also carrying a staff and wearing a robe with an enormous cross on it. “Dress normally,” he says. Get it?
As we continue our study through Acts seeking God’s vision for His church–then and now–one of the most valuable things we seek to experience is Biblical unity, in Christ. But as I mentioned on Sunday, unity does not mean uniformity.
Thankfully, God has brought us together from all walks of life as “a diverse community of believers committed to developing passionate followers of Christ to impact the world.” (That’s our church’s vision statement, by the way.) We may dress a little different, talk a little different, and act a little different sometimes, but God has sovereignly melded us together as His body, rallying around our common relationship with Jesus Christ.
We come from different backgrounds, with differing gifts, abilities, experiences and passions–and hurts, for that matter–and God will use us all, as pieces in the puzzle to come together to function as the community of faith He has called us to be. That’s what it means to be His church.
I’m grateful He’s allowed me to be a part of such a great church, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us in the year ahead as we serve Him together. I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing this Sunday.