Enlarging the circle; that seemed to have been the theme of my worship experience of late.
There was worship with my own congregation, worship at synod a gathering of mostly CRC folk, the celebrative worship of the World Communion of Reformed Churches which widened the circle to include Reformed believers from all over the world, and then another ecumenical gathering of Reformed, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, AME Zion, folk to name just a few denominations present.
The context for each of those services did distinguish each event as did the number of folks gathered but yet much remained the same. We worshiped the triune God, God the father, his son who died to redeem us and rose again from the dead, and the Holy Spirit sent to lead and comfort us.
In each service there was praying, preaching, and singing and though the words and sounds may have been different there too much was similar. Anchored in God’s holy word, prayers spoken in Jesus’ name through the power of the Holy Spirit, songs of praise, lament, confession…unity. Despite our differences we decided to focus on what united us, instead of dwelling on the parts of our theology and practice that were less clear, we focused on what was clear, Jesus Christ died and risen and our belief that he was going to come again.
Whether we are worshiping in with the local church or an ecumenical gathering there is nothing as sweet as recognizing our unity in Christ. If we can worship together, we can work together, we can witness together, and they will know we are Christians by our love.