Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NRSV)
In the seventeenth-century, there was a French explorer named Samuel de Champlain. Champlain reported back to the Old World on many of the wonders he encountered while journeying through Canada. In these writings, he told one story of a mixed Catholic and Huguenot community in Nova Scotia that was served by both a Roman Catholic priest and a Protestant pastor.

Champlain does detail the doctrinal disputes that arose between these two servants of the Gospel, but he explains the means by which they sought resolution of their differences. At regular intervals, the priest and the pastor engaged in public fist-fights. According to the explorer, crowds of settlers, Native Americans, and voyagers who were passing through would gather at the center of the village to cheer on the combatants.

Have you ever noticed that wherever there are people, there are conflicts. Funny thing about that. Wherever two or three are gathered together, there's going to be disagreement--and eventually, someone is going to be unhappy. It's true in religion. It's true in business. It's true in politics.

But, remember that God calls us to be bridge builders and peace makers.

Dear Jesus, help me to be a bridge builder for your kingdom of love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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