Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
I love the story that Elise shared with our children on Sunday, "Echidnas on Everest". In case you missed it, it tells the story of three echidnas who love mountain climbing. They set off together to climb mount Everest but struggle to work together because they are so prickly and they keep spiking each other. However, they realise that they must work together despite their prickliness to overcome the challenges of the mountain and reach the summit. It is a perfect picture of the church. Too often we forget that the church is made up of broken and damaged people. This can make us 'prickly' towards each other. We expect others to show us grace and forgiveness but can be indignant when people expect us to show them the same care and concern. Jesus doesn't expect us to agree on everything all the time, but he does ask us to be humble and gentle, to bear with one another in our differences and 'prickliness'. We do this by putting ourselves at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, who works unity and peace within us when we cannot maintain unity and peace for ourselves. Living in community is not always easy, but when it works, it allows us all to overcome even the highest mountains that we might face. Surely it's worth the effort?
Heavenly Father, you have given me my brothers and sisters in Christ as a blessing and have made me a part of my local Christian Community to be a blessing to them. Help us all to be aware of each other as we work together to share the love and life of Jesus with the world around us. Keep us united in Christ and help us to be humble and gentle. Amen
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