are sections of this nation which are noted for the dazzling display of autumn
leaves. The colors run riot, and people come to see the beauty of what
nature has done.
leaves might be a metaphor for the state of the church. The leaves
originally were on the tree just as the early church was united. In that
union there was great strength. The early Christian martyrs—including all
but one of the Apostles—feared not even the worst of death, for their Lord had
conquered it. As long as the leaves stuck to the tree, the leaves were
green and strong.
the time came when the leaves started to break away from the Branch. They
began to change colors, a sign of their intent to break from the tree.
They stuck to the tree for a while, but anyone who looked could tell you which
were the ones that would soon be gone.
the journey of the leaves was not over; indeed, they would be gathered
together again—by a man with a rake or a leaf blower. United again—for
the church. You will see it in the various denominations. It is
interesting to read through the histories of the American Civil War and see how
much the various denominations have altered their views. The changes in
view preceded their departure, just like the leaves change color. We now
see many denominations dying—even while they make a bold display of their “new”
also applies to individual Christians. The change is subtle at first, but
eventually shows up brightly. The individual changes his color—his
doctrine—and leaves the true Branch. There is a warning in the
leaves: these will be gathered together again, for their destruction at
the return of our Lord, as he told us in the parable of the wheat and the weeds
(tares in the King James).
can the individual Christian do about it? Most of the time we can do
nothing about the divisions and schisms—but we can maintain the unity of the
church in the Holy Spirit. In the Spirit we are one. As others run
away, we can run to the center—a deeper relationship with Christ.
you take the Lord’s Supper, you proclaim the unity of the church. The
Lord’s Supper is inclusive, not exclusive. Anyone who proclaims that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, is brother or sister to
me. We may not worship in the same buildings; we may have different hymn
books (or words on the screen); we may not speak the same language or even live
in the same time—but we are one. We are one in the Spirit. We are
one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and
Father over all. When you take the Lord’s Supper you proclaim the unity
of His church—until He comes again.