“The Bond of Peace”
1I (Paul) therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2. with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.” 9(When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. (NRSV)
verybody loves a baby. Too bad that we can’t love adults as much as we love babies. Babies are not perfect, but we look beyond their imperfections and love them because they are babies. Babies can shake up our schedules, they can make a mess. But that’s OK because they are babies. Our Granddaughter, Charlotte, whom we baptized this morning, is a perfect child, but a perfect baby has imperfections. God loves this way. This love can change us and can change things.
The Middle East is being blown up because of deep divisions among the largest religious bodies in that Holy Land where many of us have trotted along following Tour Guides not wanting to miss any of the sites. Muslims, Jews and Christians too are heaving missiles at each other. Not just armed combatants are being blown apart, but babies too, some sheltered in their mothers arms. Beautiful brown babies are dying along with their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
But why? Most human beings are good people who want peaceful lives where their babies can grow up and live out their days in peace. We want them to someday tell their grandchildren about that day when the killing ceased and grown men and women shook hands in brotherhood and sisterhood; not because they worked out a perfect plan for coexistence, but they decided to tolerate the mess and to look toward God who spoke to them and they finally listened and just quit making a mess of the planet and its precious people.
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor