On Sunday I worshiped with brothers and sisters at Wilmington Delaware’s Church of Our Savior, a Presbyterian church celebrating its 50th anniversary on the East Side of the city. The video shows how joyful was that occasion! And the song and a sermon, preached by the Reverend Jacqueline Taylor, demonstrate how enthusiastically the congregation enters into conversation with the worship leaders!
The more I get around to various houses of worship of many religious traditions the more I become convinced that our most common trait is the joy of experiencing the presence of God’s spirit together. Christians sing “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds Our Hearts in Christian Love.” Psalm 133 from the Hebrew scriptures says, “How pleasant it is when brothers (read people) dwell together in unity!” And Muslims cherish the ummah, a worldwide community of Islam.
In my 31 years of pastoring occasionally I received a kind of confession from a faithful church member who felt that he–and it usually was a he, not a she–was at the very edge of the church because he could not believe the same things that the other members professed to believe. I suppose these men were testing the boundaries of their pastor’s hospitality and acceptance. Who was I to cast them out? I have come to realize that a yearning for deep community is present not just in believers, but in disbelievers too. I’m convinced that the “that of God in every man” of which George Fox spoke, puts that yearning there.