By Pastor Rodney Tilley
Most of the time when I write an article for the paper, it is usually an illustration followed by a scriptural lesson which sometimes to me seems quite trivial, but not so today. Today, I want to talk to Van Horn face to face about something that troubles me personally.
I, like you, understand by now that America is deeply divided politically. We stand back in awe and wonder at the state of our nation, and find ourselves shaking our heads in embarrassment. I personally do not know what I can do except to vote and to pray, and then to do my best to make America a better place to live, but to be honest, as a pastor I am more embarrassed at the state of the church. I look at our own divisions and I am perplexed, and also embarrassed, and wonder, “Why?” The Bible states that we should “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and in all.” (Eph. 4:3-6).
I look at Van Horn and we have over 14 churches and yet we never come together as a group to honor our One Lord, Jesus. We get angry with someone in church and go off and start another church in our home, garage, or in our back yard and justify it in the name of holiness and righteousness. If we do not come together in the unity of the Spirit, soon every house in Van Horn will be an individual church, with no one talking to the other. We should be embarrassed for it is a blight on the name of Jesus that we speak of our brothers and sisters in the Lord in detrimental ways and act as if they are strangers and aliens, when the Bible states that we are “no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” (Eph. 2:19).
Four years ago, I arrived in Van Horn and was excited as to the nature of the church here, but I was soon disappointed for I found there was not even a ministerial alliance that met to bring pastors together with a common purpose and goal. I can understand the divisions in the political system but the church is not and should not be a political party but a force for good, all that is good in the world, and therefore I cannot understand the divisions that exist in the “family of God.” It does not make sense and I am embarrassed for the church.
So I ask you if you would join with me first in prayer, then in fellowship. Let us greet each other with the peace of God and encourage one another and spur one another to good works. Let us seek the good of all “saints” of the Lord, and let us seek only to lift Jesus’ name and his church higher. America may be divided, but let us never divide Jesus into a thousand parts. Let us begin in Van Horn and be an example of what the church looks like. I am not saying you should come to my church – far from it, but since there is a lot of room in all of our churches, let us seek those that need a refuge and give hope when there is no hope. Let us heal the hurts, the wounds, the hang-ups, and express the unity of Christ in all that we do. Let us have the face of God to those we meet and as a united church push back the darkness and let Christ’s light shine through.
If you would like to meet, call, or come by please let me know. Pastor Rodney Tilley, Van Horn Community Church at 432-207-0015.
When I lived in Van Horn, back in the 70’s, there was a ministerial alliance. The churches did come together and encouraged the congregants to participate in whatever activities were offered. I remember going to Vacation Bible School in each church that offered it. I remember going to CYOA (Catholic Youth of America) dances at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. This is how I learned about different faiths and beliefs – and the one common goal of “Sharing the love we have for each other in Christ Jesus.”
I applaud your wanting to start an alliance again. After reading the articles in this weeks Advocate, I pray the town will once again come together in the spirit and love that defined Van Horn, Texas when I lived there.