REV. JEFFREY COURTER

On unity and peace

Published Jun 10, 2017 at 4:00pm

I find it sadly ironic that I can at times find myself more in step with persons of other faiths than with some fellow Christians. I am involved with the Greater Utica Interfaith Coalition, which hosts lunches for dialogue between various faiths and denominations.

There are Latter Day Saints, Muslims, Roman Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, and yes, Presbyterians, all eating together and sharing their stories. There is fellowship and camaraderie, and an agreement that we wish everyone got along as well as we do.

Isn’t it ironic that I can have more disagreement at times with those of my own faith, fellow Christians, than I do with people of other faiths? Why is this, when scripture is so clear about seeking unity? The Letter to the Ephesians commands us to “(bear) with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 3:3)

Our poisonous partisan politics have divided us along political party lines, and we disregard the Spirit that binds us together.

It is the same way with other religions: ISIS kills more Muslims than non-Muslims, violating their own scriptures. Partisan ideology can have deadly consequences. We must overlook demands for doctrinal purity from those who would divide us, or we, too, may find ourselves at war with one another.

God calls us to be at peace; those who oppose peace are on the wrong side of God’s truth.