By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, September 15, 2016

There was a man who was stranded on a desert island for many, many years. One day, while strolling along the beach, he spotted a ship in the distance. This had never happened in all the time he was on the island, so he was very excited about the chance of being rescued.

Immediately, he built a fire on the beach and generated as much smoke as possible. It worked! Soon, the ship was heading his way. When the ship was close enough to the island, a dinghy was dispatched to investigate the situation. The man on the island was overjoyed with the chance to be rescued and met his saviors as they landed.

After some preliminary conversation, the man in charge asked the man on the island how he had survived for so many years. The man replied by telling of his exploits for food and how he was able to make a fine house to live in. In fact, the man said, "You can see my home from here. It's up there on the ridge." He pointed the men in the direction of his home. They looked up and saw three buildings. They inquired about the building next to the man's house and he replied, "That's my church - I go there to worship on Sundays."

When asked about the third building, the man replied, "That's where I used to go to church."

It is no joke that there is division in the body of Christ. The Church is divided in too may ways; race, class, and ethnicity divide the body of Christ as much, if not more so, than doctrine or denomination.

This week I am attending the New Baptist Covenant Summit in Atlanta. The NBC seeks to address the division present within the Baptist family of faith by uniting Baptists and renewing our pursuit of unity and justice. Here in Macon, two of our Baptist churches have already formed a covenant of action. First Baptist Church of Christ and First Baptist New Street have been working together for the past couple of years. Instead of bemoaning the historic division between white and black Baptist congregations, they have nurtured their relationship in order to transform their community.

There are so many needs in Macon. I wonder what it would be like for us to partner with another congregation to address the needs of education, poverty, food or economic development. There is no question that Baptist of all stripes are called to work together. Think with me about what it would be like to answer this call at Highland Hills.