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Pastor's Corner: Week of Christian Unity

 

January 18, 2019



I have the privilege of writing the religious page article just in time to announce the upcoming annual Week of Christian Unity, which starts this Sunday, Jan. 20. I always look forward to this time of year because I feel very blessed to be part of the Body of Christ in Havre. In my opinion, the events of Unity Week serve to spotlight some of the best aspects of life in the Spirit and life in the spirit of unity.

The week always begins with a Sunday evening sing-along hosted by Community Alliance Church and including participants from several churches. What a joy to praise and worship the Lord together and to appreciate the wonderful diversity of musical styles, as well as the amazing gifts of the various choirs, worship teams, singers and instrumentalists.

Each weekday morning a different church serves breakfast and shares a short devotional message. It’s so much fun to “break bread” with long-time acquaintances or seek out someone I don’t know in an effort to make a new friend. And, let’s face it, it’s hard to find better food than that prepared by “church ladies” (and men)! Just as we appreciate the diversity in the musical realm, we also applaud and savor the rich variety of tasty choices for breakfast.

“Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue,” is the theme of this year’s observance, which comes from Deuteronomy Chapter 16, Verse 20. That strikes me as a very fitting topic for this year. We don’t have to look hard or far to find instances of injustice in our world. I am choosing not to expound on the topic in detail, as the pastors who share the devotional at each event will undoubtedly cover the topic very well. I do want to offer a couple comments. The complete verse in Deuteronomy 16:20 reads this way in the New King James version: “You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Justice is linked to life and inheritance. How often injustice leads to death and to missing out on blessings that we might otherwise enjoy.

My second point is that justice is one of God’s prominent characteristics. He executes justice because He is just! In Job 37:23-24, we read: “As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart.”

Or consider Psalm 89:14, which says, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face.”

And He values justice in and among us. As we grow in our walk with God and with help from the Holy Spirit, we can expect righteousness, justice, mercy and truth to be evident in our lives, as well. Psalm Ps 25:9 promises that He will help us: “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.”

As with justice, so also with unity. Unity doesn’t mean that we all believe the same things, conduct our church services in the same way, or agree on every issue. Rather, as we grow closer to the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled and empowered to pursue and practice unity while at the same time enjoying the diversity of gifts, callings, personalities, and expressions of love we see in the Body of Christ. Jesus placed a high priority on unity, and prayed specifically that we would walk in it, as quoted in the Gospel of John, Chapter 17:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

I look forward to seeing you at one or more events next week. The schedule is as follows: Sunday evening at 7, the All-Church Sing-Along will take place at Community Alliance Church. Breakfast is provided at 7 every weekday morning as follows: Monday will be hosted by First Lutheran; Tuesday will be held at Assembly of God; Wednesday, Van Orsdel United Methodist will be the location; Thursday, we’ll be welcomed by St. Jude Thaddeus Church; and next Friday will again be held at Assembly of God with Abundant Life Ministries hosting.

Thankfull, this year it appears we will have relatively mild weather throughout the week.

——

Vicki Barrows

Abundant Life Ministries

 

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