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Cross Words: One God, One Church

I just returned from a trip to Honduras.  Strange as it may sound (providential may be the better word) I met a family from Abu Dhabi.  In case you’re as geographically challenged as I, it’s nowhere near Honduras and even further from the United States.  Nonetheless, we struck up a conversation and I discovered some interesting facts about the land located in the United Arab Emirates.

Before the nation struck black gold a few decades ago they were impoverished and lacking in anything that resembled quality health care.  Faced with the possibility of national extinction, the dictator at the time requested the help of Christian missionaries who were willing to set up hospitals throughout the region.  Their commitment and success at the endeavor earned them a place in the hearts of the leadership and the common people which continues to this day. 

For this reason, even though the country remains mostly Muslim, Christians have been given the freedom and protection to express their faith.  Not only that, but the country took on the cost to construct and maintain houses of worship. There is a catch though.  Only one church is built within certain jurisdictions, and all Christian denominations are required to share equal time in the same facility thus making use of the building 7 days each week.

I know I’m dreaming, so somebody please pinch me, but just how much could we save in this country or even in this county if we applied the same principle.  All the money we spend on constructing new sanctuaries and family life centers each time there is a doctrinal schism or a family feud could be spent on feeding the poor and spreading the Gospel.  The very things we are commanded to do.  Not only could we share expenses, but we would be more able to share Christ.

I know I have to get back in the real world and accept the way things are,  but it won’t stop me from praying for that type of unity within the Christian community.  After all, that’s exactly the request Jesus made just before His date with the cross.  “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:20-21).  If we are indeed a people under one God, would it be so disastrous if we happened to find ourselves under one roof?

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