WS Update: Unity

April 4, 2022

Yesterday Joel preached on the topic of unity (listen here) as we continue to make our way through Lent, a season of spiritual self-examination when Christians pause and ask: If what I say I believe about Jesus is true what changes do I need to make in my life to better reflect what it means to be a citizen of his kingdom. And in light of yesterday’s sermon: What in particular am I doing to contribute to unity in a world that is so fractured, polarized and broken; to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:1). To answer that I would encourage you to reflect this week on a question Jesus’ brother James asked:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. (James 4:1-3)

Notice that the primary cause of the disunity and polarization isn’t those people ‘out there’ but by ‘desires that battle within’. The word ‘desires’ is the Greek word hedone (from which we get our word ‘hedonism’.) It means our strong drive to self-please, to give ourselves pleasure, makes us internally restless and ready to do battle with anyone who gets in our way. And as James points out not bringing any of those desires to God (“you do not ask God”).  Prayer is an exercise that brings our heart’s desires into alignment with God’s desires.  Do you see why repentance (honest exploration of our inner emotional life brought to God) is central not only to Lent but to the Christian life?  So as you begin another week:

  1. Read Psalm 133 (below) and James 4:1-3 (above).
  2. Reflect and write down divisive attitudes you have towards others.
  3. Ask God to help you see the ways your own discontent is behind those attitudes.
  4. Reflect on the gift of unity that is yours through Jesus (for example Romans 5:1).
  5. Reach out to someone you care about and offer encouragement and support.

How good and pleasant a world it would be if each of us did that each day.

Psalm 133

1 How good and pleasant it is

    when God’s people live together in unity!

2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,

    running down on the beard,

running down on Aaron’s beard,

    down on the collar of his robe.

3 It is as if the dew of Hermon

    were falling on Mount Zion.

For there the Lord bestows his blessing,

    even life forevermore.

Don’t Walk By: Last chance to volunteer

Hope for New York still needs volunteers to serve during the final weekend of Don’t Walk By! Meet at The Salvation Army on 540 Lenox Ave, and learn ways to connect with neighbors in the uptown area.

Coming up

  • Sign Up for Faith & Work 101, starting Apr 4: This introductory 7-week cross-vocational course is designed to challenge you to take an in-depth look at your particular field through the lens of the gospel. Our Spring offering of Faith & Work 101 will take place at W83 on Monday nights from 7:00-9:00 pm starting April 4. 
  • Participate in a Social Media & Mental health talk, Apr 7: This Thursday night, our youth ministry is hosting a conversation on social media & mental health that will be for the adults in our community. Dr. Kate Glerup from Redeemer Counseling Services will equip adults in key subjects like the mental and emotional impact of social media, its addictive potential, its role in identity development, and how to help youth set boundaries and process the content they encounter online. 
  • Register for the opening reception of Everything Matters, Apr 8: Over the past six years as art director at City Relief, Corey Hayes has taken portraits of NYC’s homeless community. The Gallery at W83 in partnership with City Relief presents twelve images that hopefully challenge our stereotypes of “the homeless” and inspire us to engage with people living on the margins of our city. Exhibit runs through June 5, 2022.
  • Sign up for New at RWS, Apr 10: If you’re new to Redeemer West Side, we welcome you to come learn more about our church and get connected to community.
  • Sign up for the Youth membership Class, Apr 24: This class helps potential members learn the gospel theology and ministry of Redeemer West Side so you can join the church. We cover what’s behind the five membership vows, how a PCA church is led, and how members step into our sacred call to love our neighbors and heal our city.
  • Support Hope for New York on Easter: During Easter, Redeemer West Side supports Hope for New York by collecting a sacrificial offering that supports their affiliate partners. We are committed to loving New Yorkers in need, which means supporting affiliates that provide holistic healing in our city. Consider giving today or next week.