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Unity in Midst of Division

In the 1930’s Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA began the tradition that we know today as World Communion Sunday. On the first Sunday of October every year we gather around the Lord’s table with Christian’s the world over to celebrate our unity, not just with Christ, but also with one another. This is the power of the Lord’s Supper, that every time we eat the bread and drink from the cup we are united with Christ, through the Spirit, and thus united to all who are in Christ.

Too often it can be easier to see the divisions in Christianity then it can be to see our unity and yet at the heart of our faith we have two practices, two sacraments, that serve as unifiers in the midst of division. Both Holy Communion and Baptism serve to bring us together, not by our own power or by right observance of the ritual, but rather by the grace of God made known in Jesus Christ.

This unity found in Christ is one that supersedes any other Christian identity. While I am proud to be a Presbyterian and find our tradition to be one that is both beautiful and true, my foundational and primary identity is that of being a member of the body of Christ through baptism, not being Presbyterian. Similarly membership in any other Christian (or other) community or tradition is secondary to our membership in the body of Christ through our baptism.

In baptism we sign and seal the claim of God on our lives as we affirm the belovedness of the person baptised. Through water and the Spirit we are joined to Christ and thus to all who are in Christ Jesus. This does not erase the differences and disagreement we have, as we can see even the early Church in scripture had disagreements and differences, rather it gives us the common ground of baptism through which to work out our divisions.

So as we are reminded by both baptism and holy communion that our unity with the body of Christ overcomes time and space and is not bound by national or denominational borders. Thus everytime we come to the font and table we come as members of the body of Christ and all who are members of that body are called by God to the waters and the feast.

4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.- Ephesians 4:4-6

Grace and Peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Brian

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