The Art of Holy Conferencing

Today I had the good fortune of being able to attend a Day Apart for the elders of the West Virginia United Methodist Conference.  It was a much-needed day for me to simply be in worship rather than leading it.  As I sat in the pew and sang along with my colleagues to the hymns, I couldn’t help but feel my heart swell with love for my fellow Christians in that room.

When we set aside all the things of this world and join together in worship we are essentially telling the world that Jesus is more important than anything else.  All of the things that distract us, that occupy our time, that work to divide us, are nothing in the presence of Jesus.

I glanced around me, at my colleagues.  Some were younger than me–most were older… but age didn’t matter as our voices joined together in song.  I knew that some were bleeding-heart liberals and some were hard-core conservatives… but theological and political leanings didn’t matter as we praised God together.  I have sat in meetings with some of them and have been in heated discussions about the direction of the church with them… but differences of vision didn’t matter as our souls came together to rest in the Lord’s presence.

We live in a world of division–everything seeks to divide us.  From politics to sports, we are always pitted against one another.  We are always cheering for one person or another.  But when we come to worship, there is only one vision, one idea, one issue that is before us and that is praising the Holy Name of our Lord and Savior.

I can’t help but think that the early Christians, who were always together, studying scripture, praying, singing hymns, and dining together did so because they knew that with all the dangers of the world that were before them, they needed to be united as closely as possible in the one thing that would carry them through it.

The more we feel the world pulling us apart, the more we need to come together–to set aside our differences and to allow Christ Jesus to unite us.  Although we are a diverse body, we are one body–united through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and given the cup of life to drink from Christ’s own hand.

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