In Philippians 2:1-4, Paul challenges us to think about church unity. We live in a
world filled with division because of political, economic, and religious differences. Although
these differences can enrich our world, often they have been misused in selfish ways. Can we
be united in the middle of this global and local division? Paul’s answer is: Yes, we can be
United in God’s Love. To understand the godly way of unity, Paul takes us through three main
ideas: “The Reason for Unity” is God’s love for us; “The Way to Unity” is our response to
His love by our love for Him; and “The Application of Unity” is that we love one another. If
we recognize this love in our life, we can live in harmony and unity. Love is the main value
in Christian life.
Jerome, a church father, once wrote about John and his sermons. He said: “The
blessed John the Evangelist lived in Ephesus until extreme old age. His disciples could barely
carry him to church and he could not muster the voice to speak many words. During
individual gatherings he usually said nothing but ‘Little children, love one another.’ The
disciples and brothers in attendance, annoyed because they always heard the same words,
finally said, ‘Teacher, why do you always say this?’ He replied with a line worthy of John:
‘Because it is the Lord’s commandment and if it alone is kept, it is sufficient.’”
In October, please take time to think seriously about the needs and interests of your
brothers and sisters at church, of your family at home, of your neighbors in your community,
of your friends at work, etc. Pray about how you would translate your love into specific
actions for a certain person. Don’t stop there, but transform your prayer into simple words
and actions that show your godly thoughts.
Finally, I would like to share two items of good news:
1) Forty-three persons completed and returned the U.S. Congregational Vitality
Survey. That is an amazing number. The results indicate we are in good shape in general. We
have an 85% level of “Caring Relationships” which is excellent. The average is 84%. We
love and care about our members!
2) The installation of the Rev. Dr. Ramy Marcos will occur Sunday, November 5. We
will worship at 3:00 p.m. instead of 11:00 a.m. The Rev. Dr. David D. Graton, Professor of
Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford International University for
Religion and Peace, will preach at the installation. The Rev. Dr. Stephen J. Davis, Woolsey
Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of History at Yale University, will also
participate. Several leaders from the Holston Presbytery will lead this installation. Everyone
is invited. Please share this good news with your friends.
See you every Sunday at 11:00!