United in Christ
UNITED IN CHRIST
By Emilyn Umbrell
After a lengthy conversation with a neighbor, I came to the eye opening realization that there was a large gap in my community; where people of one faith stood on one side, and people of other faiths stood on the other side. I began to ask myself, as neighbors, how can we fill this gap? And if not fill it, then at least work to close it a little? I left the conversation consumed with the thought of it. My mind wrestled all morning, turning it over and over looking for a solution. Then a moment of clarity broke through. It wasn’t about how to fill the gap, it was about who can fill the gap.
There it was.
A thought formed in truth.
Jesus Christ is the only one who can fill the gap.
All at once, I felt called to action.
I immediately went to work organizing an interfaith study at my local library about the life of Jesus Christ as told in the four gospels. Openly I admit, I had no clue what I was doing, but I knew God knew what He was doing, so I trusted in that and moved forward. After a positive few weeks of learning how to study together, I could see the prepared content of our study coming to a close. I wondered where to go from here. I got the sense that once we came to the end of our content, much of my group would move to other things, other groups, or other ways of studying. I also had the sense that our small group had barely made a dent in the community as a whole, and while the experience was good, God was showing me just how big of a work this really was. I began to plead with Him in prayer, asking what He would have me do next. I was keenly aware of my smallness, my inadequacies, but I knew from scripture that God can use the small to do His great work.
God heard my prayers and introduced me to Multiply Goodness, where I met others who, because of Jesus Christ, were striving to build bridges of friendship across the ravines of different belief traditions, even theological disparities. I immediately felt at home with these women that were willing to sit at the table with those who are different, yet similar in hope. I attended a live Bible study session, where the room was filled with tables of conversations of faith and hope, confirming the reality of the life, teachings, and grace of Jesus Christ.
I learned, when studying Jesus Christ in the Bible becomes the focus, the great gaps caused by our differences dissipate. The daunting cliff sides fall away, and the darkness of the deep and unknown below are brought into light, His glorious light, because we have chosen to stand on the bridge and confirm Christ in the Bible together. In the end, it’s not just about building bridges of friendship, it’s about being united in Christ on common ground.
What does our common ground look like in Ogden, Utah?
A small group of women meeting in a public library.
Here we pray quietly, but openly.
Here we speak words of Him.
Here we learn to love as He does.
Here, He fills the gap.