Listen to this week’s Devotional here.
Author: Kajsa Teitelbaum
Many are the lightbeams from the one light. Our one light is Jesus.
Many are the lightbeams from the one light; we are one in Christ.
Many are the branches from the one tree. Our one tree is Jesus.
Many are the branches from the one tree; we are one in Christ.
Many are the gifts given, love is all one. Love’s the gift of Jesus.
Many are the gifts given, love is all one; we are one in Christ.
Many ways to serve God, the Spirit is one; servant spirit of Jesus.
Many ways to serve God, the Spirit is one, we are one is Christ.
Many are the members, the body is one; members all of Jesus.
Many are the members, the body is one; we are one in Christ.
This hymn, number 163 in our hymnal, is one that I learned early on in my church musician career. It is written by a Swedish hymn writer, Anders Frostenson, and put to music by Olle Widestrand. This image of Christ as the center, with various branches surrounding him, has been a central point for me since I was baptized. I love seeing people coming together, with different backgrounds, ideas, and ways of thinking, and still being centered and held together by their common belief in Christ as our savior. Looking back on my own path to Christ, it started in a classroom filled with people, all ready to start serving different congregations in various ways. There were pastors, deacons, musicians, and counselors. There were people like me, straight out of high school, and there were others in their mid-50’s, starting a second career in life. We all met for an entire semester, learning together, discussing life and theology. Despite all of our differences, Christ was always in the center.
I saw a beautiful example of this a couple of weeks ago, when our children’s choirs and instrumentalists came together for communion Sunday, on October 2nd. We had members ranging in age from 5 to 80 leading the congregation in worship, all with different life stories and experiences. First, the Joyful Noise sang their hearts out to start the service, and then our middle and high school musicians played while the congregation shared communion. Even that is a perfect image of people coming together from all walks of life. Learning an instrument is such an individual process; we all learn differently, and at different pace. Still, our youth were able to find common ground (thanks to Er-Hsuan and Julia) and found a way to play together. Lastly, our Faith Singers sent us off by encouraging us all to tear down walls of division. My daughter Signe, who is still part of the Joyful Noise choir, sang that song all afternoon and well into the evening. That message resonated with her for sure.
Our congregation works just like the hymn I mentioned in the beginning. It is amazing to see all of us come together and then branch out into small groups of different interests. Despite our differences, we create a safe sanctuary, right here, in downtown Boulder. A place where Christ is always at the center, where love and mutual respect grows, and the door is always open. I am so grateful for our FirstCong family, and for all the ways that we get to be together. Thanks be to God!
Dear and loving God, thank you for reminding us of Christ as our center, for guiding our feet towards him, despite our differences. We pray that you will always keep our minds, hearts, and eyes open, so that we can see clearly, love you more dearly, and live according to Your word more nearly. In your name we pray. Amen.