There is more that we have in common, more that pulls us together than pulls us apart. This statement was made by a leader in our church in a recent conversation I had with several people regarding our upcoming General Conference. It is certainly not a new sentiment to me. I have heard it several times over the years as struggles over human sexuality, appointment issues, and any number of other concerns have faced our United Methodist Church. But while I have always agreed with the statement, in the face of our ongoing struggles as we approach our global gathering in Portland in May as well as the polarized political state of our nation as a whole, I have too often allowed myself to be sucked into positions and “us and them” mentality. I have allowed these perspectives to define the way I have interacted with people and engaged life in general. I have too often forgotten the reality that was named the other day.
But it is true! We do have more in common, more that pulls us together than pulls us apart. It’s true in the church certainly. In our denomination and across the Church as a whole. This week points that out to us in deep and significant ways. We may disagree about all the theological nuance, but at the end of the day we all gather around the cross this Friday, and we come together to sing “Alleluia, Christ Arose!!” come Sunday. There is more that we have in common than pulls us apart and this week we have a marvelous opportunity to celebrate the heart of that common message, mission and life once again.
Why do we so often focus in the other direction? Why do we so often look for the difference first? Why do we go for the place of dis-agreement rather than finding the similarities and the things we can hold together? While we argue a lot about sin, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps Jesus weeps over this reality more than most.
I’m not suggesting that we ignore our differences. I’m not suggesting that they aren’t important. I am suggesting that what my friend said the other day is an incredibly powerful truth, there IS more we have in common, more that pulls us together than pulls us apart.
I wonder what would happen in our lives, in our church, in our world if we spent most of our energies looking for those things and celebrating them together. Let’s begin this Easter. Let’s commit to going there first. What do you say? Let’s change the angle of the lens and celebrate that which brings us together.
Christ is Risen!!