"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus," Romans 15:5 ESV
While not musically inclined, I appreciate all kinds of music; gospel, R&B, rock, country, and even the occasional rap artist. I have a particular affinity for acapella groups. At the gym, our trainer Dayne will sometimes play a country acapella group called Home Free. While each of the five singers has excellent voices, it is the harmony of their unified voices that makes their music magical.
Today's verse also talks about harmony. The unity that God desires for us. The agreement with each other that can only be found in Jesus Christ. We need no further proof that this is not attainable through human means than to tune into your choice of news outlets. Satan loves decisiveness! Any wedge that he can use to drive a wedge between us, he will. Yes, I'm talking about Christians too.
Yesterday was the virtual Annual Conference for the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church. The theme for this year's conference was Building Beloved Community. I would encourage everyone to watch the opening message by Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar*. Over the next year, we will be exploring in more detail the opportunities open to us for building a beloved community, not our church community but more broadly to our global community. While we may not attain the perfect harmony of an acapella group, there is no reason for us not to practice.
God, we give you thanks for your continued patience with us. We so often choose to sing solo, or loudly and out of tune, instead of even trying to harmonize. We become focused on the “me” instead of the “us.” We admit we falter in our practice; we fail to read and meditate on your word, and we don't talk with you enough. Please help us become in tune with the Holy Spirit, searching for ways to sing together in unity. Help us to overcome all the "isms" that artificially divide us. We ask this in the name of you, Son, Christ Jesus. Amen.
*You can fast-forward to about minute 11 of the Annual Conference video to the start of Bishop Devahar’s message.