united: joined together by our faith in Christ

“On the essentials, unity. On the nonessentials, liberty. In everything, charity.” — Jack Hyles

United 

A closeness exists
between complete strangers,
no matter where 
or when they might gather
across oceans, lands or over
seas, or close to home as can be.

It’s a bond created 
long before they were born,
a friendship and fellowship 
which loves and serves and gives 
one to another 
like sister and brother.

Independent of age
or race, gender, station in life
or place or financial position,
you fit in, with no barrier
whatsoever, save that
of your own creation.

Children, teens, middle-aged
and elderly join hands 
figuratively or physically,
join hearts as one
(ideally, maybe) and share
bread and wine and meals
and pray for hope and peace.

Call it a gathering, a meeting,
a Body, a Church, a Union
or a Congregation, perhaps,
it doesn’t really matter 
because all are united in Christ 
and that’s stronger 
than what might divide. 
© joylenton

“Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it.” — Joni Eareckson Tada

wholeness: sensing hints of wholeness

“I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.” — Wendell Berry

Hints of wholeness 

 Where do we begin and end? 
 Is there a boundary between you and me
 and other living things?

 Don’t we all draw breath, our sustenance 
 given by a generous, almighty hand
 that loves us without restraint?

 Now we look at air and water,
 fire and earth, tree and leaf,
 noticing the connectedness.

 We see and sense our union 
 with all living things, our sentience 
 linked inexplicably with theirs.

 Earth in its rawness, primitive 
 soil teeming with hope,
 with richness, and with life.

 Fire exists in the heavens,
 wrapped in the golden glow of sunset 
 and sad devastation of forests.

 We see repeating patterns
 in the sky, in a flower,
 in each day, the length of hours.

 And our souls can sense
 areas of difference still
 giving hints of wholeness.

 Variety is seeded in the universe,
 in all burgeoning plants,
 in faith, and in infancy.

 What we will become
 is still a mystery
 for now, waiting to be revealed.

 Brokenness is our default state
 throwing us on God's mercy,
 his great forgiveness and grace.

 We learn not to divide 
 our hearts but yield them up
 in surrendering to his love.

 Our brothers and sisters 
 are not too dissimilar to us
 when viewed through grace.

 One day differences will subside 
 because what unites us
 is greater than what divides.
 © joylenton

“[Jesus] matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weaknesses he gives us strength and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity.” — Dallas Willard in Ruthless Trust – Brennan Manning