Every year, Director of Christian Life Greg Lisson focuses on one central Christian life theme for Wesleyan to analyze, interpret and fully explore in order to better understand and live out daily. This focus helps Wesleyan as a community keep its central mission of a Christian atmosphere continually in view.
This year, the theme is ONE: Unity and Uniqueness. Every month, one aspect of the theme is broken down and examined by the middle and high school chapel speakers. Aug. 17 was the first chapel of the year in which Lisson introduced the theme to the school community.
He started off his sermon explaining why the theme was chosen. Lisson said, “In John 17, Jesus prays for all of His future followers, ‘that they would be ONE’ just as He and the Father are one. He prays that all Christians would be ‘brought to complete unity.’ It was incredibly important to Jesus that we, His followers, be unified.”
Wesleyan’s new Dean of Student Ministries Alex Bufton agreed with Lisson’s belief that Christians, as a whole, need to become more unified as a body of believers. “With our culture today, people think that whatever you believe is okay, whichever gospel you want to believe, or whatever you want to believe about God is your choice—but that is not the case in the Christian faith. There is one truth, one God,” said Bufton.
Lisson said, “I came across Ephesians 4, which says that we should ‘make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.’ I realized that the same things that make Christians unique—One God, One Spirit, One Faith, etc.—are also the things that unify us. And so, the idea for a theme was born: ONE.”
Lisson said Christians should “celebrate the things that make us unique while also continually acknowledging the powerful truths that unite us, see[ing] our differences as blessings, not as sources of division.”
Bufton said, “I think that if you claim to love, know and follow Jesus, then you would live this out daily—that there’s one Gospel, one body of believers. I think it would come out in everything that you do—the way that you treat people, the way that you act and the effort that you put towards things that matter. It would change everything.”
Junior and chapel band leader Jamie Roberts said, “All around the world, there is controversy and conflict surrounding religion, politics and other major issues. Unity is especially fitting because there is a noticeable lack of it that seems to get worse every day.”
“Two of the biggest challenges facing Christianity today are division and pluralism. This theme speaks powerfully against both of those,” said Lisson. “Hopefully, this theme will first remind us that the things which unite us are so much greater than the ones that divide. And secondly, I hope the theme will remind us that Christianity is not just like every other religion; it is indeed unique. There is One Lord, One Son, One Body, One Gospel.”