A Call to Oneness
Hanging on the wall in the study at our home is a line drawing given to me by a student about thirty-five years ago. The drawing is pretty simple – a sidewalk with two people walking side-by-side, arms around each other’s shoulders. That image is a powerful reminder to me of the nature of Christian proclamation.
Among Paul’s favorite words for how you talk Christian stuff to other people is a little compound verb that means “to call alongside of.” The noun form of this word is one of the names Jesus gives the Holy Spirit in John 14:26 – the Comforter. The verb form is translated a variety of ways – to appeal, to urge, to call, to beseech.
Rather than pointing fingers at one’s listeners, the word calls us to invite our listeners to come walk alongside of us in this journey we call following Jesus. In many ways, this idea seems to suggest that we have found the Jesus revealed in Scripture and want others to come with us and see what He has done. It is far more “come with me” than “you better go there.”
In 1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul uses this word to express what most would argue is the dominant theme of the entire epistle. Here’s what the text says, “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” (NRSV)
When I read those words I immediately think of that line drawing hanging up in my home office. Paul is inviting the Corinthians believers, with all of their troubles, to come and walk alongside of him. He does it “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Throughout these twenty-one days of devotions and prayer requests, a variety of people who serve God at Point have invited us to come and walk alongside of each other. We have been encouraged to be bold and to ask God to put us in the game. The courage to step out of our comfort zones and engage others has been a common theme – it might be on a trip to trip with other students or being blessed by Mrs. Ethleen. Living in grace with confidence about the final destination as creatures made in God’s image were all presented in the context of “come alongside of me.” The call to partner with a pursuing God who seeks to reconcile the world to himself, could very well mean we grab that refrigerator and move it – as we live up to our name Christian and respond to God’s call to action. Together, with our myriad voices in the flock – the one body of Christ – we can spur one another on to good works. This whole idea of “to call alongside of” reminds us that no one is insignificant in the eyes of God.
Thinking about our spiritual formation theme – many parts . . . One Body – reminds me of how crucial it is that Paul’s favorite word for talking Christian stuff to others become our favorite word.
Who do you need to call alongside of you on this great journey we call following Jesus? I promise there is someone who needs to get in the line drawing with you!
-Wye Huxford, Vice President of Spiritual Formation and Dean of the Chapel
Pray that God would provide both people who call us alongside of them and people to whom we can call to walk alongside of us each day as we serve Christ in this One Body.