At this writing, I’ve just come in from sitting on my patio before going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning. I mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. The sky has been swept clean (wish I could say that about my patio…), the birds are singing, the sun is coming up over the horizon, the trees are sporting their new greenery—I even have some new things planted in my garden. And I had a special treat this morning—two Canada geese flew overhead! Great!
We live in southern Missouri in what’s called a “fly-over zone”, so the geese are frequent residents in transit. But we also have a fair smattering of other indigenous feathered friends. I see and hear them up in the trees all around me. Lovin’ it.
This morning, however, while sipping on my nice hot tea, from somewhere up there one of these little delights shared a greenish deposit. On me.
Still lovin’ it, just not that part.
Interestingly, one of my prayer activities on this morning was to pray for the coming together of the church in creative, non-traditional ways. I don’t mean “my” church; I mean God’s church. I don’t mind at all that we meet in different buildings or have different styles of worship music. I just can’t tolerate division, separatism, and selfish ambition—especially in myself.
Apparently, this was high on Jesus’ list of priorities also.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”
In fact, it was so important to Him that He took it to the cross. Part of what He bore on His bleeding back as He marched to Golgatha was the necessary weight of oneness. And oneness is h-e-a-v-y. It is a burden that, truly, can only come through the ongoing power and work within each individual through the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, Satan concentrated a host of his evil minions against this strategy from the get-go, which in itself should make us sit up and take notice.
Secondly, as my good friend, Mike Hutchens, once so wisely observed: “unity does not mean unison”. Or like Bob says, “you don’t deduct points for style”. And Americans are, unfortunately, big on style…
Even so, true unity, authentic koinonia, takes time, effort, and sacrifice. Invariably, it gets messy. Offenses are waiting to happen. Disagreements can be expected. Money gets reallocated. And we are all, ALL, still in the process of this amazing transformation called “sanctification.”
Is it worth it?
Several days have passed in the writing of this little ditty. I’m finishing it up out here on my patio once again, with the birds singing around me. Admittedly, I had to clean some white stuff off my table, ‘cuz I’m not going to let a little bird poop prevent my plans….or God’s.
John 17:20,21 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.