Many believers have been commenting on the division being caused by the virus and vaccine. On one pulpit there would be discouragement against the vaccine and on another, persons will be encouraged to be inoculated. This is a very touchy subject, so if you have gotten this far, thank you for your confidence or maybe curiosity.
While some may be distressed by the division and acrimony in the world about the genesis, spread and impact of the Covid-19 virus and the diverging views about the vaccine, I am not one of them. This because division has existed in the Church since time immemorial.
I can’t remember the Church ever being infuriated for castigating each other about the day we worship, the food we eat, the manner of our dress nor our mode of worship. For decades pulpits have been divided on things that concern the very beliefs which we propound, yet we somehow expect unity on a matter concerning a virus and the treatment of same.
I have come to know and accept, as many believers do, that our denomination, day of worship, style of preaching and worship practices are NOT the criteria for heaven. From the time I began my journey with God, I have never shunned away from understanding and even being a part of the worship of different denominations, because relationship with God through Jesus Christ is THE ONLY way to heaven.
Jesus declared, “I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). In John 11:25 He also says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies”.
I grew up in the Moravian denomination, a global organisation with hundreds of years of history. Though our churches carry the same name and logo, the worship services in the various geographies are very different. A rhythmic style of worship dominates the Caribbean worship experience while more sombre and reflective services can be experienced in Europe. I saw Moravians from Tanzania worship with their bodies and the North Americans worship in song. At the end of the day they all reflect pure praise to the Almighty God. The variety of our worship as Christians simply demonstrates that our Heavenly Father isn’t unidimensional.
Thus far I have attended services at Pentecostal, Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventists, Spiritual Baptist, North American Baptist and what I will loosely call the European Pentecostal churches. I believe that it is important to embrace all denominations, styles of worship and respect persons' beliefs. I grew up reciting the motto of the Moravian Church and the words ring truer as the years pass by:
In Essentials Unity
In Non-Essentials Liberty
In All things Charity
The motto is given in chronological order of importance. As far as our faith is concerned, there must be unity in the essentials for us to even be a part of the Church. We must believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, born of a virgin named Mary and died on the cross to redeem all of mankind from our sins. He was resurrected by the power of God, ascended into heaven and will come at another time to receive His children (the Church). That is the essential.
It stands to reason, that with minimal exceptions, most other things are non-essentials. Therefore, with respect and tolerance we must give each other liberty in all areas of the non-essentials. At the end of it all we must show everyone love, in and out of the Church. LOVE IS MOST IMPORTANT!
Don’t hate, berate or excommunicate those who have chosen a path that is different. With love and tenderness treat everyone as you wish to be treated and never let the division of the world cause you to miss the mark on the unity required in our faith.
Friends, focus on the essentials of our faith, respect our differences and in all things let’s love each other.
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