The Presbyterian Church (USA) has recently added the Confession of Belhar to its Book of Confessions. It came to us from the church in South Africa, written during apartheid. During this advent, we remember that Jesus was born to a family living on the margin of society. This confession was written by people living on the margins of society. It speaks of hope, unity, justice, and reconciliation.
A song of ascents. Of David.
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
Text from the Belhar Confession:
Unity is, therefore, both a gift and an obligation for the church of Jesus Christ.
(My reflection) One of the best ways to live into this is to eliminate “THEM” from our vocabulary. Instead of thinking in terms of “THE OTHER”, to begin to think in terms of all groups as part of me. To quote Edwin Markham:
He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!
NOTE: I’m following the Advent devotional booklet published by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.