Maintain the Unity of Spirit in the Bond of Peace
Sunday, I preached at two worship services at the 1st Congregational Church of Berkeley, California. After both worship services I autographed copies of my book, “The Test, The Strength, The Endurance and the Way Out.” Later in the afternoon I gave a talk on the subject of endurance at the 1st Congregational Church of Palo Alto, California. The reception I received was warm and engaging. Several friends and church members from Detroit stopped by to worship with us. I was glad to see friends and family, but the thing that really had me going all night long was the fact that these two churches represented the first time I had taken my book, preached, played the harmonica and sang in churches that are predominantly white where I did not know the minister. The churches I carried my book to and preached at last fall in Atlanta, Daytona Beach and Miami each are pastored by ministers I have known for years. In Atlanta and Daytona Beach I actually stayed in the homes of the ministers.
Yesterday was different in the sense that I did not know the pastors but also that the congregations are predominantly white. However, what was similar between the white and black churches is what Paul calls, “Unity of Spirit in the bond of peace.” The more I spoke with the members of both churches, the more I was reminded of the things we all have in common.
The other thing that really touched my heart was that that my son Nathan and his wife, Sharla are members of the Berkeley Church. Karen Routt, a family friend and church member from my youth is a member of the Palo Alto Church. Individually and on their own, Nathan, Sharla and Karen opened doors for me, literally thousands of miles away from my home base in Detroit. I was reminded of how important family and friends are.
So, today, I write about the “Unity of Spirit and the bond of peace.” There are several things that bind us together. What I saw yesterday were old people, younger people, healthy people and sick people, white, black and Asian people. I met three men who came up to me after worship in Berkeley who shared that they also play the harmonica. They seemed to get a big kick out of me playing in church. In both churches there were people who described themselves as “Progressive Christians.” As I spoke with the various members of the churches I was struck with the common bonds of Christian unity that transcend color and race.
Ephesians 4 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 
Questions for Reflection:
- What do you think the “Unity of Spirit in the bond of peace” looks like?
- What are some of the challenges in attempting to maintain the “Bond of peace?”
Lord, teach me to appreciate the “Unity of Spirit in the bond of peace.” Create within me a desire to seek common ground with others who believe in you. Help me to realize that there is a bond of humanity that transcends race and gender, color and ethnicity. Lord, grant me the desire and strength to work for a world of peace and justice, equality and well-being for all people. Lord, help me to understand more clearly the power of your Word, the value of your message and the depth of your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photos by Denise Page Hood
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III are available at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
More about the ministry of Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Eph 4:1–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.