Sunday, September 11, 2011

Unity


The theme for the year at school is unity.  The theme is taken from John 17:21 which reads: "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.

It is a great theme. Certainly it is what God wants for us. But we often think of unity as something we need to work toward rather than something that God creates. (The closest we come to working toward unity is Ephesians 4:3 where we are told to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." But even then we simply keep what God has created.) However, like everything spiritual we try to do in the power of the flesh, no matter how hard we try, unity escapes us. The best we can achieve is agreement and cooperation. That is not unity, though agreement and cooperation may be the product of unity. It is too tenuously based when it is mere agreement and cooperation.

So, what is unity? John 17:21 actually refers back to John 17:11. There unity means the unity of brothers and sisters of one Father.  It is the unity of family, of being from one blood spiritually. It is the unity of a family whose focus is on the Father, rather than on themselves.

That sounds like worship, and in fact, true worship is one place where unity is most purely experienced. It is the place where unity begins - focusing together on God. As we focus on God, we allow God to be God. We stop playing God.  We allow our brothers and sisters to be accountable to God rather than to us.  We give up our right to be critical and to judge. That right is God's alone.

What a relief is this letting God be God. How sweet to see God's mercy and grace in the lives of others rather than looking for "issues."  What a joy this kind of unity is. And it is ours as we turn our focus to God and rest in his sovereignty.

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