Uniting the world in faith

Published 7:55 pm Monday, November 20, 2017

There are seven continents in our world and 193 countries recognized by the United Nations. I know that because I asked Alexa. Every morning I ask her about the weather and right now, as I write this, I’m asking her questions about our world. Alexa, without saying a word, is teaching me that our world is changing. Alexa is not only a fascinating new technology, she is a symbol of all the ways in which our world is changing.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world, it must have seemed like a foolish command. How in the world would they go into all the world? They didn’t even know there was a whole world. Their “world” was the small area around the Mediterranean Sea. And 2,000 years later, while I was growing up in South Georgia, it still sounded like a foolish command. How in the world would we, in our day and time, reach the whole world?

Then the world changed. Suddenly I could touch large parts of the world while sitting at my desk. I can read the news and email people around the world. When I was younger, I created a sermon website and got notes from preachers all across America who’d read one of my sermons. I can also go online and send prayers to Christians in other countries who are in prison for their faith and letters to their governments demanding they be released.

Several years ago, I sat at a very large desk in Albuquerque and watched thousands of small lights blinking on a world map the size of the wall in front of me. It was huge, and each blinking light represented someone in some part of the world who was at that moment downloading a copy of the Bible from the Faith Comes by Hearing computers to their personal computer or tablet or smartphone. Suddenly the world was much smaller.

And while I was writing this, I remembered Jesus saying, “…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me, and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” ” Just think, if everyone of us in this world repented of our sins and accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit, we’d be brothers and sister in Christ and we’d really be one people. It’d be Heaven!

Pastor’s viewpoint is written by Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley, a retired United Methodist pastor and, with Mary Ella, a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.