Sunday Scrutinization: Unity
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, 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—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
The congregation that I and my family have now placed ourselves in, is going through something very unique: the joining of two very different congregations.
We are still just a few months being a part of this group and there has been a request from another church in the area to join together. This other church has lost most of its leadership due to people moving away. The remaining elder has given up his post. But, it has proven difficult for him to still be a part of this church and not be seen as a leader and his is still looked at as one. He is friends with the two main elders in our church and has asked them if it was okay to sit among their congregation. The church hearing about this put forth the idea of joining with our group, as they will no longer have leaders.
We have had several meetings where we have had questions posed and what our elders expectations are for us. That we would be prophets, priests and kings among the new group. We are to seek their needs and be sensitive to what they might be going through. We have changed around schedules and meeting types to accommodate their feelings.
This other church, at least how I believe, understand and heard it, are bordering on legalism. It is no mistake of God that we have been in the final chapters of Romans for the last couple of months. Yesterday was the first time we were two churches made into one. Through some of the questions asked of the elders and in myself talking to them, I do see them leaning toward legalism.
Yet through what I have learned in these last months, I, myself, have been heading down that path, but in a much different way. We all have our tendencies to take the route of what it looks like, superficially, to be a Christian. And our expectations of others may confirm where we are headed.
But, now is not the time to dig out others differences, and expose them to the light. Now is the time to seek what unifies us. Now is the time to agree with the essential of essentials. Of course we all have our ideas of what is essential, but we need to take these from God’s Word.
This is a momentous occasion! The Church, after years of splits and hundreds of denominations and names; is unifying. Yes, in a small corner of this country we call America, but it is momentous nonetheless. I thank God for this opportunity to witness a reunification of what was never to be brought asunder. A unity that Christ Himself prayed for. That we would be united as He and the Father are united.
Pray for this situation. That we may look beyond differences and find those things that unite. That those who would want their convictions heard, would see them as less important. That we could be prophet, priest and king to each other in love and in peace. And eventually, that the world would see this, and see Christ at work, in His church. That people would believe in His church again.