If you attend church regularly, you probably have a Sunday morning routine. It might not vary much from week to week. Each week you follow familiar paths to a familiar place to worship with familiar people.
Familiar is good.
To be able to come, week after week, to a certain place to worship with certain people, is a gift. It is a gift we often take for granted.
However, this gift of familiarity can also lull us into a sense of isolation. We can become so familiar with what we do and when we do it that we forget about what other Christians do on a Sunday morning. We forget that there are people all over Lynden worshipping at the same time we are. We forget that there are people all over Washington and the rest of the United States praising God in various sanctuaries. We forget that there are people all across the globe lifting high the name of Jesus.
In the Apostle’s Creed, a core statement of belief for many Christian denominations, we confess that we believe in a “holy catholic church.” When the creed says “catholic” it is not referring to Catholicism as a denomination, it is referring to the actual meaning of the word catholic, which is “universal or all-encompassing.” When we recite the words of the Apostle’s Creed, we are essentially saying that we believe in a church that is universal, throughout all times and places. We are saying that the church is bigger than our building or denomination, it is all people who confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
When we worship on a Sunday morning, we are not alone. We are connected to our brothers and sisters everywhere, we are a part of this “holy catholic church”, bringing glory to God.
But so often, we tend to focus on what makes us different than other Christians, rather than what connects and unites us. We draw distinctions between what “we” believe and what “they” believe, how “we” worship and how “they” worship. We give each other labels and posture ourselves against each other, rather than supporting and lifting up and praying for one another.
What could our churches and our town look like if we as Christians focused on what unites us instead of how we are different? What if we stopped seeing neighboring churches and Christians as “they” and started to speak of all Christians as “we”?
The first Sunday in October is Worldwide Communion Sunday, a Sunday in the church year where Christians across the globe celebrate communion and recognize how the body and blood of Jesus makes us one. How can you as a Christian, and how can our churches make this attitude not just a once-a-year attitude, but an every day attitude?