Monday, July 14, 2008

No Beard, No Prayercovering

How very good and pleasant it is when 'brethren' live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes. Ps. 133
Brethren, of both genders and several denominations, have gathered together in Richmond this week. It is the first time that the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church have joined together for Annual Conference since the split in the late 1800's. That in itself is an amazing event. What is even better, and always amazes me, is the diversity within our denomination. Here we sit, thousands strong, and some women wear prayer coverings, others are in shorts and sleeveless tops. Some men are in plain clothes, others are in plaid shirts, shorts and sandals. Somewhere in there is my colleague in his suit and me in a skirt, along with our congregational members in a variety of styles. It is a beautiful thing to see and of which to be a part.

Even more amazing is the diversity of theologies. You hear it in the preaching and in the comments made from the floor mics to business items. We are all different; a large group of individuals. Yet, when the singing starts the unity of the brothers and sisters can be heard, loud and clear. We don't all sing the same parts. I sing a plain soprano, but all around me are the four parts sung as one beautiful hymn that resounds even stronger when the instruments stop and just the voices fill the coliseum. As is true for any symphony, the variety of complex and different parts is what makes the music so grand. We are never as beautiful when we are uniform in style and sound as we are when our differences are pronounced. It's an old saying and oft repeated concept. Yet it is when you are sitting in the midst of sisters and brothers that the reality can be felt, heard, seen and tasted. It is now, when 'brethren' worship and serve together, that the Body of Christ is most alive.

How good it is!

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