January 22, 2020
"How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1 NIV). This past Monday, our nation celebrated the prophetic life and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His leadership of the Civil Rights Movement called us to repentance on both personal and systemic levels. Through nonviolent direct action, King softened and turned the hearts of many Americans, leading to personal repentance from complicity in racism. On a larger scale, King's activism helped overturn the Jim Crow laws that mandated racial segregation in many parts of the southern United States. Yet one form of segregation which King also challenged was more voluntary than legal, and it has remained difficult to overcome, even as hearts have softened. That form of segregation is the division of the Church. As King famously observed, "the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning.”
Today Berthoud, Colorado, feels far removed from the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. We also feel far removed from our country's current struggles with racism and systemic injustice. Yet we're not far removed from the temptation to divide ourselves from our brothers and sisters. Our spiritual enemy seeks to sow division in Christ's body, and the devil will be pleased with any form of division, however we rationalize it. It takes active and deliberate work to combat this temptation and remain in relationship with Christians who differ from us (whether culturally, or in preferred worship style, or in theological tradition), yet this is exactly what the Bible calls us to do. Jesus brought together Jews and Gentiles in one church, creating "one new humanity" that overcomes our racial, ethnic, and national divisions (Ephesians 2:15). He prayed that his disciples would "become completely one, so that the world would know" the Father had sent him to reveal his love. Jesus wants us to experience the joy that comes from God's people dwelling together in unity.
So tonight, friends from New Freedom Outreach Center, Berthoud United Methodist Church, and First Presbyterian Church of Berthoud are gathering to mark the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We'll have lots of music, time to pray for Berthoud, and a special offering to benefit an emergency assistance fund administered by the Berthoud Squad of the Larimer County Sherriff's Department. Light refreshments will be available afterward, too. The service will all take place at 6:33 p.m. at our church and all are welcome. Come see how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity.
Grace and Peace,