All One Body, We
Open Letter to Church of God Concerning UCG Fast on June 4, 2005
Dear Friends and Family,
You may or may not know that United Church of God, IA (UCG) has proclaimed a churchwide fast for the Sabbath of June 4, 2005 (in this case, churchwide means within the UCG). You probably know that there is virtually no communication between the many corporate church entities; very little between congregations and, in some cases, there may even be contempt between members of the various churches. Sometimes, as in the recent past, it takes a genuine atrocity for the Churches of God to reach out and help one another. Wouldnt it be great if that would happen when things are going well?
Our brethren around the world, in the various Churches of God, are a big family (and like most families, somewhat dysfunctional). Though we have our "corporate" differences and varying dogma, we have many commonalities. Most importantly, we are members of the "Body of Christ," regardless of what some corporate church leaders may intimate.
Regarding a June 4th churchwide fast, its my opinion it should supercede just one corporate church. I think brethren all around the world, from every fellowship and organization, should take up the cause to humbly come before God, en masse, fasting and praying that all of us might become closer to Him and to one another. This day of fasting needs to transcend the corporate walls that separate us from one another.
The only way this would ever happen is for a grassroots effort of grand proportion to catch on. But it can happen if we contact our friends and relatives (regardless of which CoG they attend) and stress the importance of drawing nearer to God and Christ as a body (all one body, we as in the hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers).
In no way am I suggesting we attempt to reunite into one big church. There are legitimate reasons why there are many different fellowships. But that doesnt mean we cant come together before God, on our own, in fasting and prayer in a demonstration of spiritual unity.
A true heartfelt fast taken upon ourselves in a grassroots movement could give new life to the work of God, more effectiveness in prayer and the love we need to have for one another. If you recall John 13:34-5, Christ told his disciples (and it applies to us as well):
"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this all shall know that you are my disciples, If you have love toward one another."
Can any one of us say that we are not negligent in this area? How scary is that?
Just for the record, Im not a member of UCG (although I do attend occasionally) or any other corporate CoG, but I do consider myself to be a member of the Body of Christ. I have nothing to gain in promoting this fast day. I just would like to see Gods people rise above the corporate falderal which has alienated us from one another- and maybe even from God.
If you see the need for Gods people around the world to jointly come together before Gods throne and humbly seek Him and His Righteousness, maybe He will hear our collective prayers, have empathy for us, and use us as He will.
I ask you to contact all of your friends and family members who attend Gods Churches around the world to join in the day of fasting and prayer on June 4th, 2005. Mail them, email them, snail mail them, call them or whatever it takes to inspire and encourage them to participate. This isnt about any particular church. Its about the Body of Christ drawing closer to God as one Body. Be a part of it! There will be cynics and scoffers there always are, but dont be dissuaded. This fast will be between you and God; not you and some corporation.
We all need to draw closer to God. This will be a tremendous opportunity for all of us to participate in an unprecedented act to show God we are in solidarity with Him and with one another.
Please pass this or your own letter on to our brethren, wherever they may be! This can only happen if we actively seek to make this happen. Only good can come from this day of prayer and fasting if we will be determined to contact as many friends and family members as possible. Please help in this effort that Gods people will collectively seek Him in earnest humility. Thank you!
Sincerely, with love,