Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Luke 9:18-27 (NRSV)
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”
He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
We live in a world full of division. As we progress through another political season, it is easy to see that many people are bitterly divided over every issue that comes before them. Each side wonders how the other can be so blind or naïve.
The Church is not immune from division. We like to argue over doctrine and government. We find ourselves divided over worship styles. We like to argue over what is right and what is wrong within our communities. We like to compare ourselves with others. As Christ’s church we need to unite over the things that matter. We need to find unity in the testimony of Peter. We need to unite in the fact that Jesus is the “Messiah of God.”
If the church can find that unity, then it can stop relying on political candidates to bring unity to the rest of the country and the world. If we find unity in Christ and deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ, then the church can help to bring real healing and unity to a divided world.
Unifying God, we praise you for the gift of Christian community. Give us the wisdom and the courage to unite in Christ. Give us the wisdom and the determination to follow Christ’s example of love and compassion as we attempt to bring unity to a divided world. Amen.
Go with God.