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Sharing a common vision among believers

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A hymn by John Oldham in the United Church’s “More Voices” begins this way: “Deep in our hearts, there is a common vision; deep in our hearts there is a common song; deep in our hearts there is a common story, telling creation that we are one.”

That common vision becomes alive whenever we gather in worship and work to proclaim our trust and our faith in all we are and all we do.

For we have within us enough joy to live each day, enough compassion to use in service each day, enough grace to share each day.

Just as manna was provided the Israelite people in the wilderness, so the grace of God rests gently upon us, waiting to be gathered, waiting to become the bread of life we share throughout the day.

That common vision for us as Christians becomes alive in the way of Jesus, the way of the one who was the servant of the poor, making the last first in our hearts and hopes.

It becomes alive when we experience the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life, the Spirit of uninterrupted grace as the one who gives us the Gospel to live out; the one who teaches us songs of praise; when we would utter laments, the one who fills us with laughter, the one who enables us to live out truth and justice each and every day.

This basic vision that is deep in our hearts as John Oldham puts it, for me involves grace and trust and faith and hope in our lives and in the life of the world. As Christians, we use this word "grace" to refer to God's unmerited, free, spontaneous love for us, as we experience it in the life and work of Jesus and in our own lives and work.

 

But Oldham’s vision I believe goes beyond a specific religious faith in that he is talking about a common vision that exists in all human beings no matter the nature of their religious background.

For not only in the hymn does he talk about “telling creation that we are one”, he also talks about the sacred message of “justice and peace in harmony”, the common current “flowing to freedom like a stream.”

And all of these have some common resonance to believers of all religious faiths in our world today.

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