An encouraging demonstration of unity amongst churches of differing traditions was evidenced in the Smithton/Culloden suburb of Inverness city on the evening of Pentecost Sunday when four local church fellowships joined together in a time of joint worship and ministry.
The service, which would have been outdoors had the weather permitted, was held in the Barn Church; and it was standing room only as those who gathered sang psalms, hymns and spiritual songs - sometimes to the accompaniment of keyboard, guitar or drum; sometimes led by a vocalist.
In informal attire, four of the local chuch leaders - Jim Robertson (Barn Church of Scotland), David Meredith (Smithton/Culloden Free Church), Jim Turrent (Culloden Baptist Church) and Thom Raller (King's Fellowship) led the service.
The message was preached by Hector Morrison of the Highland Theological College.
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In the course of the service, many of those men, women, young people and children who were there would have experienced forms and styles of praise and worship which differed from their respective traditions; but they gathered as disciples of the one God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through His Son, Jesus Christ. Paedo-baptists, believers' baptists, congregationalists, presbyterians, charismatics and non-charismatics, traditional and new church folk worshipped together side-by-side. All sang, some clapped, some raised their hands to God.
Whilst no visible tongues of fire fell on those assembled for the Pentecost meeting in Smithton/Culloden, it could be honestly said that "the believers were gathered in one place".
And if Aaron had been there, he would surely have had his beard wet with oil.
Latter-day ecumenism tends to focus around efforts to unite formal structures through a process of negotiations, committees and procedures. But amalgamations of religious organisations will - at best - resemble the body of Christ to the extent that a robot resembles a human being.
The John 17 prayer of Jesus "that they may be one" centres around an organic relational dynamic: a real and living unity of the Spirit in the body of Christ.
Ed note: Others are free to leave their comments/observations below