Our society seems to be lacking a lot of things. But one rather large, very noticeable thing it lacks is unity. It seems like people are looking for reasons to divide, rather than reasons to unite. If you do something I don’t like, then, well, you must be a (insert deregulatory term of your choice here) and we just can’t be friends anymore because I’m not going to be friends with a __________.
Unfortunately this can be seen in the church as well. One person says, “’Brother So-and-So’ said something bad about (or did something bad to) ‘Brother Such-and-Such’. Why, now they aren’t even speaking! What are your thoughts? Whose side are you on?” And if the hearer doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the speaker…
What is really important when we come together as a church? What is really important as we seek to set a united example to the world? Jesus prayed in John 17:20-21 for all who would believe in Him through the testimony of His disciples that they would all be “one”. This oneness is not just something that we share for three or four hours a week while we are inside the same building. It impacts every aspect of our lives.
Just a little while before He prayed this prayer, Jesus told His disciples, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
On Sunday night, October 8, Dr. Bruce McClarty, President of Harding University, will be speaking on the subject of “Unity in Our Fellowship” at the area-wide worship assembly. The singing starts at 5:30 at the Springdale Performing Arts Center at Springdale High School. You really should plan to attend!
Then on Wednesday night, October 11, the annual Preachers Exchange will focus on “Unity in a World of Division.” I would suggest you plan to be here, well, every Wednesday night, but make special plans to be here on October 11.
But what does unity really look like? How can we really display the love of Christ…especially in our community? Let me share an example with you.
This past Sunday something terrible happened in a southeastern suburb of Nashville, TN. A man arrived just as services were dismissing and shot and killed one lady and wounded seven others at the Burnet Chapel church of Christ in Antioch, TN.
Caleb Engle, a 22 year old man who was serving as an usher on Sunday, is hailed as a hero…praise that he quickly redirects towards others…for confronting and restraining the shooter until the authorities arrived. Following the tragic events, he “tweeted”:
“I ask everyone to pray for the victims, family members of the victims, our church community. Please pray for healing. Also, please pray for the shooter, the shooter’s family and friends. They are hurting as well.
I pray that through all of this that people will come to know Christ and I ask our nation to reflect on Romans 8:31, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?'”
Did you catch his words: he asked for prayers for victims, their families, their church, and for the perpetrator of this crime and his family and friends. That is one way to show the love of Christ to a lost, dying, and divided world…especially to a wounded community.
As Christians, if we are united in the love of Christ, we will be united everyday and everywhere we go. Then there will be no stopping us because God will be working through us and God will be working for us and “If God is for us, who can be against us?”