Itís striking that Paul addresses two women by name in Philippians 4 and implores them to be of the same mind, and then almost immediately commands them and all the Philippians to rejoice: rejoice always. We donít know anything about their disagreement, but we know their names and we know that part of Paulís immediate thought was to point them toward joy. Christianity does not obliterate differences, and if youíve been in the church for very long, you know that even very strong differences and disagreements can emerge between Christian brothers and sisters. The difference between Christians and non-Christians ought to be the relative importance we place on the disagreement. Of course there are disagreements that sometimes require division, but most disagreements do not require division, they require vision. They require a renewed vision of the big picture, the death and resurrection of Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, the Church triumphant marching gloriously through history Ė when you step back and catch a glimpse of this vision, joy wells up inside you and when you glance back at your differences, those differences seem small and insignificant.
So as we come to the table of the Lord, think for a moment about the disagreements, the differences of opinion, the outstanding tensions that you have with a brother or sister, maybe a parent or a child, or a friend or a boss. This is the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving, our Continual Joy. Here, Christís death is proclaimed until He comes. Jesus does not ask you to pretend away your differences. He does not ask you to change your mind (unless you really are wrong). But He does ask you to remain in fellowship despite the difference. He requires you to prioritize rightly. How important is that difference in light of the gospel? If you are brothers and sisters, then it is not as important as the blood of Christ. And if you are brothers and sisters you must agree on this. So rejoice. At this Table all who know Jesus are One because we are all One in Him. So again, I say rejoice.