“… 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. ” John 17:21-23
Unity. That was the prayer that Jesus prayed for all Believers before he was arrested and put to death. That we would be Unified. It has been a burden on my heart in the past, but recently even more so, that as the church in America we are so far from Unity. It’s Unattractive. It’s less effective. It goes against everything that the New Testament calls the Body of Christ to be.
Paul spoke repeatedly about the working together of the body. We are all different parts with different functions and methods to getting our jobs accomplished; but we are all a part of the body. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!'” 1 Corinthians 12:21 We are all a part of the greater whole, and God has called us each to different methods and different tasks that all seek the grand purpose of glorifying His precious Name throughout the world.
So tell me; why Why WHY are we divided?? Big churches have their place; they do their good that God has called for them to do. Small churches have their place; they do their good that God has called for them to do. Different ministries, different people, different minds— all for the good that God has called for them to do! But because God us called us to do “suchandsuch”not “blahdeeblaah”, we pridefully ASSUME that God has not called someone else to do “blahdeeblaah” instead of “suchandsuch”. And no I am not saying that anything goes; both suchandsuch and blahdeeblaah must fall under approval from the clear words of scripture… but aside from that… there should be no disagreement!
Imagine this: the church, United. Cities transformed by bodies of believers everywhere working together towards their common goal. Loving people. Loving God. Believing that Jesus alone is Lord and that He is returning some day for His church which He has redeemed from the sins of the world. This is not a warm blue fuzzy unity. These are siblings; who disagree sometimes; but always love. Who sharpen and shape each other at iron sharpens iron. Who preserve each other with salt, who guide each other with light. This is the Body. This is the Bride of Christ.
Let me tell you something: We are CRIPPLED in our attempt to bring hope to a dying world every moment that we remain divided. This is the enemy’s attempt to keep us squabbling amongst ourselves long enough, to keep us detached from each other long enough, that the world will not see the beauty of the Risen King. Jesus says that through our complete unity, the world will know the Father’s love through the savior Jesus Christ. He says that “By this they will know you are my disciples, that you have love for one another!” John 13:35
Just imagine it. Imagine how effective we would be. Imagine how the world would be changed. Imagine all the people of the world; young and old…rich and poor… healthy and sick…. black and white… ex-cons and prominent members of the community: All of them. All of US; coming under the United Banner of Jesus Christ and of His Love for the Broken.
Let it stir your heart. Let us come together. Let us greet each other in the name of Christ and choose to overcome the sin that has held us captive so long. The sin of thinking that those little theological nuances are enough to destroy our bond. Remember the disciples! Tax collectors, zealots, doctors and fishermen. Who could be more different? The Dream Team of the Body is Us. Are you going to be apart of it?