So in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
In my role in the women’s ministry I lead, it’s my responsibility to find good Bible teachers for our Conferences. New to this world of Christian speakers, a wise man suggested some women to reach out to. So I did.
With a mix of excitement and discomfort (my usual feeling when entering new territory), I set a date to drive to her town (over an hour away) to have lunch. It was wonderful. There was something about her that was so comfortable, so familiar. She wasn’t just a pleasant acquaintance. She was an immediate connection, dare I say, a fast friend.
For those of you who know me well, this doesn’t happen very often – ok, never – in my life.
I don’t trust easily. I don’t let people in who have not earned (according to my sense of self-importance!) entry into my precious heart. I am selfish with myself (an attitude that God is slowly melting away).
But somehow, some way this woman was different. She got through.
Over the year leading up to last month’s Conference (she rocked it), she texted me often, letting me know she was praying for me. Nothing detailed, just a short prayer, and a Bible verse. Often – too often to be coincidence – it was exactly what I needed to take to God, to be reminded of what God’s Word teaches.
In a phone call a few weeks before the Conference, I joked that I felt that I had known her my whole life. She said the same, but then added that we really have been lifelong friends if we consider how the Spirit connects us all in the same family of God.
Gotta tell you that was a new epiphany for me! I have often thought and prayed about that since that phone call. And I came to this conclusion:
The Spirit as a connector; that all of us, as believers, are connected to each other in love and faith and grace. Not just thinking alike, worshipping the same God, but actually connected by one Spirit.
But it does make perfect sense, doesn’t it?
As Christ followers, we received the Holy Spirit the moment we believed. There is only one Spirit, and we’ve all got the same one. Each of us has not been given our own little “holy spirit.” (That sounds creepy, doesn’t it?)
We share in the one Spirit of God.
There is one body and one Spirit… ~Ephesians 1:4
Yet this new friend is not the kind of friend I meet for coffee every week. She is not the one who knows my husband and my kids and my story. She is not the one who forgives me when I have a potty-mouth, or when I cross over that gossip-line. She is not the one who I garden with, or bake with, or share an evening over wine and good food. She is not the one who cries over our children, and grands, or weeps for the hurt of our community. She is not the one who will take me to the doctor, pray for my book to be published, or go to the beach for a day of R&R. (although I am confident she would do all of the above if she lived close!).
But yet, this newfound perspective on our connection in the Spirit, has me thinking differently about these ‘daily,’ close friends who I do all of that with.
We, too, are all connected; but not just by proximity, or same church, or same soccer fields.
Friends who live nearby – and those who live far away – are all as close to my heart as the Spirit of God is.
It’s not a unity we can produce by good works, or proximity, or friendliness, or speaking at a conference. It’s a unity produced by the indwelling of the Spirit, by God’s grace, by our choice to believe in Jesus. It’s inside of us, and it flows outward.
It’s complicated, yet it’s simple.
We are unified by the Spirit within us.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. ~Ephesians 4.3
Bound with the holy threads of peace.