My church had a meeting after the service yesterday to discuss and identify what our “bedrock beliefs” are. The discussion was led by our pastor Tom Bartley, and four tables of church members including multiple retired pastors and Sunday school teachers, as well as a range of others.
Each individual came up with their own list. Then each table worked to create a combined list. Then we worked to pare the list down, eventually coming up with seven words. Then we compared the lists each table came up with, to see what we had in common.
What we had in common was the word “grace.”
While there was some initial reaction of disappointment that we weren’t able to find a longer list of words around which we had substantial agreement, I saw this as something quite wonderful. We are a community of people who self-identify as Christians, and thus for whom God and Jesus are important, and who also consider grace important. And we manage to be a community and learn from and encourage one another even though many other of our beliefs – including bedrock beliefs – are not ones that we hold in common. That we bring together the very conservative and very liberal and a full spectrum in between, and still find it worthwhile to be joined as a community, is quite an accomplishment.
In the service that morning, the music team performed the song I wrote “Creed” – it seemed particularly appropriate for the occasion. Here’s the recording: