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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stay Together!!

Today I'm reading Ephesians 4:1-6

1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

"Stay together!" 

I think of pre-school teachers herding little students on a field trip. Everyone holding hands. Everyone connected to someone else so that no one gets lost. Counting heads every step of the way. 

Paul is worried that his sheep might scatter because of his imprisonment by the Romans. Or that they might shatter because of internal disagreements, power struggles, or just plain old fashioned sin. Most of the time persecution pushes groups together. It makes them tighter and people rely on each other for support and encouragement. Most churches dissolve from within. If unhealthy personalities are given power, if unhealthy people are not confronted about their behavior, if the leadership dissolves into turf warfare or a battle of egos. That's what kills a church. 

Pete Sczerro's book "The Emotionally Healthy Church" is excellent on all this stuff. And he's expanded his work into another book called, "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" that I would also recommends. Both books do an great job of connecting spirituality with relationship health. 

So the next time you are having a hard time with someone in the church, remember: "You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly."


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