Conference Reflection: One in Christ
By Virginia Spiers of Independence, MO, USA
God is calling for a prophetic community to emerge, drawn from the nations of the world, that is characterized by uncommon devotion to the compassion and peace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Through divine grace and wisdom, this faith community has been given abundant gifts, resources, and opportunities to equip it to become such a people. Chief among these is the power of community in Christ expressed locally in distinctive fashions while upholding a unity of vision, foundational beliefs, and mission throughout the world. —Doctrine and Covenants 163:11a
This story of Christ’s love began about a week before the 2016 World Conference. I was experiencing some health issues and was hoping to receive the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick. However, many of our ministers were busy with conference. The night before I was to have many hours of testing, I decided to approach God myself for a blessing of peace. I felt an answer to my prayer in the following way.
Not being able to attend conference, I depended on those who had that privilege to share with me. I heard there was a good spirit at the conference—a One-in-Christ spirit. I determined that I needed to wait on the Lord.
On the Sunday after conference nine delegates from Tahiti shared in our morning worship service, as well as Dick and Talitha Pennington from Michigan. It was a wonderful and spiritual service, and I thanked each one for their participation.
After the service, I told Pastor Brenda Williams I wanted to receive the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick. Brenda suggested we invite the Tahitian singers, including Apostle Mareva Arnaud, and two members of the pastorate to share with us.
The Tahitians prefaced the sacrament with a beautiful hymn of assurance. As the hymn ended, the two elders arrived, knelt at my feet, and held my hands. The pastor then anointed my head with oil, and Evangelist Pennington offered a powerful prayer of peace and assurance, God’s love, and care. I have never felt the love of God supporting me so much. We then sang the lovely hymn “Alleluia” (Community of Christ Sings 103).
I shed some tears as I hugged Brenda. I thanked our guests for sharing and told them I would never forget the beauty of the singing and the love I felt that day of being One in Christ.
Prayer for Peace
Whether in our international gatherings or in our intimate groups, God, you are with us. We call on you in the name of Christ Jesus, and you respond through his disciples. May we respond to the need for peace.
Spiritual Practice: The International Community
Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all of God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.
Today, I will share a story of love with another.