One Body for Pentecost

15May13

The disciples followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. –Acts 2:46

With Pentecost upon us, I’d like to conclude this series of posts with a reflection on Christian unity. In both Paraguay and Argentina, the ecclesial emphasis is the national setting – each national church understands itself as a particular and complete manifestation of God’s church. Members of the Argentinean congregations all feel they are part of the Argentina Disciples Church, and the members of the Paraguayan congregations all feel they are part of the Paraguay Disciples Church. As a result, a spirit of pitching in to help one another prevails in both churches.

foto_del_grupo

The post-binational encounter gathering, at the Friendship Mission in Asunción, Paraguay. In addition to representatives from Argentina and Paraguay, we were honored to receive a delegation from Mexican churches.

In the UCC, on the other hand, we tend to emphasize the local congregation. For us, the congregation is whole and complete and the denomination is a broader framework within which local churches realize their ministries.

sitting_in_woods

The beech forest in Torres del Paine, Chile. Do we in the UCC sometimes loose the forest for the trees?

Sometimes, our UCC structure can discourage us from reaching out to neighboring congregations – projimo congregations – because we defer to other agencies of the church. We say, “they’re handling that”, or “we’ll respond when asked”.

James_in_Vedia

The Church in Vedia. Angel Peiro, the pastor who started the congregation, is next to me. Eva and Gaspar Imfeld, who are currently coordinating services there, are to his left. Pr. Peiro was visiting from Buenos Aires with his wife Winnie (in front) and Eva and Gaspar are members of the Resistencia church.

As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost and the great season of going out, let us cheer the diversity of Christians, along with the unity of the one body of Christ, and let us work towards making that church unity visible. Amen!

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