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Monday, 3 February 2014

A strange dream!

The great Methodist preacher, John Wesley was, at one time, quite biassed concerning denominationalism.  However, it is recorded that, one night, he had a dream in which he found himself at the gates of hell.  Seizing the opportunity, the preacher asked the one who was guarding the gate, "Are there any Presbyterians in there?"  "Yes", came the straightforward reply.  "And what about Anglicans?" he asked.  "Yes" was, once again, the reply.  "Any Congregationalists, or Baptists, or Romanists?" was the next question and, yet again, the answer was a simple "Yes".  Wesley hesitated for a moment before asking, hopefully, "Of course, there are no Methodists!"  To his dismay, he was assured that there were!

Suddenly, his dream changed, and he found himself at the gate of heaven.  Once again he asked "Are there any Presbyterians here?".  "No" was the reply on this occasion.  Down through the list he went, each time receiving the same answer.  Eventually, he came to the question that interested him most.  "Are there any Methodists here?"  He was shocked to receive the same answer, "No!"  "Well then", he asked, "just who is in heaven?"  "CHRISTIANS!" was the jubilant response.

On my Grammar School blazer were two very specific items - the badge, and the label.  The label contained some very important information, such as the type of material, the cleaning instructions, and the size of the garment.  However, as in any school, there were many different labels.  What was more important was the badge, as it showed the specific school which I attended, and to which I 'belonged'.  What is interesting is that it was only the badge that was displayed on the front, breast-pocket of the blazer.  The label, with all of its useful information, was tucked away under the collar, or in the inside pocket.

Disciples of Jesus, too, have both a badge and a label.  Our labels - our denominational 'tags' - provide some very important information as to what we believe concerning such matters as the proper subjects for water baptism; church government; and the provision, and use, of the gifts of God the Holy Spirit.  However, what is of much greater importance is the badge - Christian - which proclaims "Whose we are, and Whom we serve." (Acts 27:23).

Let us be sure that we obey the command of Jesus, as recorded in John 13:34 (go on; look it up for yourself!) toward all who love and serve Him, in spirit and in truth - those who gladly display the badge - and not just those with whom we share a label!

Surely our fellowship should extend not only to those who share our creed, but to all of those who sincerely love our Christ!

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