Forgive my tone today. I’ve been reading in preparation for Easter sermons, and I’m in a bit of a bad mood. Just before being arrested and crucified, Jesus prays for all the future believers in the world, and much of his prayer is for unity. But we’ve apparently opted to read his words in this way: Continue reading
Tag Archives: unity
Yesterday was our last Sunday in the United States for a couple of years. We were blessed to worship with Stones River Church in Murfreesboro (our sending congregation). The preacher mentioned Ephesians 4 kind of in passing, and I thought I’d take some time to read it this morning.
image courtesy of free-extras.com
[In conjunction with Rachel Held Evans’ “Rally to Restore Unity.”]
I am amused.
While I am (mostly) in control of my own blog — I decide what subjects to address, how to write about them, when to publish my thoughts, which photos to accompany them, etc — it is ultimately the reader who decides how my blog will be used.
Why am I thinking about this today? Because of yesterday’s post:
It was a satire piece. I used the 400-year anniversary of the King James Bible to poke fun at some of the arguments conservative Christianity uses to combat Christmas, Halloween, and other popular holidays.
The post was intended as comedy. Humor. [And was accepted as such.] I suppose you could say there was a point. I was indeed speaking to some larger issues, but mostly I felt like laughing. So I wrote a piece that made me snicker.
So why am I amused?
Because the post has generated intelligent discussion. Not concerning the issue I was parodying, but having to do with language constructs and the like.* That’s as funny to me as the post was to begin with. [This is possibly commentary, however, on how humorous the original post was — or, rather, was not.]
I’m not at all upset with the discussion that follows the KJV post. I am, as I said, amused.
The writer in a public forum has complete control over his written words, but very little control over how those words are received. And even less control (practically none) over the discussions that flow from his work.
Is it any wonder, then, that we have myriad interpretations of practically every passage in the Bible? Are we surprised our churches read the same words but take from them wildly dissimilar meanings? So what’s a Christian to do?
Scripture teaches that unity is a function of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit’s responsibility to “guide [us] into all truth;”** unity is his endeavor. It is our task, then, to be obedient to Christ’s teachings as the Spirit nurtures us, the body of Christ, to maturity.
While personally I believe modern Christianity places too much emphasis on the individual, personal saviors, and the like (surely a product of our American culture), the Spirit does play this role on both macro- and micro- levels. The church as a whole will be built up to maturity by the Spirit’s power and leading. But also we as individuals, the Spirit indwelling each of us, will become more like Christ as the Holy Spirit guides us into obedience to Jesus’ teachings.
Unity is the result. Not the goal.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:35
We don’t love one another in order to be disciples. Rather, our love for one another is a symptom of our condition — that we are disciples of Christ.
I’m slightly uncomfortable, then, with the popular view that unity is equal to tolerance. Unity is not the result of broad-mindedness. It is the result of obedient lives, changed by the Holy Spirit to be more like Christ.
Seek obedience to Christ. Unity will come.