One of our enduring values in Abba House is unity. We are in good company, in the high priestly prayer of Jesus He repeatedly prays ‘that they may be one’, and then He goes on to say that our oneness has an impact on the way people perceive Him, on whether or not people believe that He came from the Father. This is enough to stop us dead in our tracks and think about the ravages the disunity in the church is causing to the gospel of Christ. The apostle Paul echoes the same sentiment in his letter to that awesome church of Philippi, the first European church when he expresses his desire that they be of one heart, one mind and one purpose. If this matters so much to God perhaps it should matter a bit more to us.
Unity of course is not uniformity; it is not perfect agreement on all points of doctrine or all points relating to church life, management, et al. Rather, it is :
- unity around the Person of Christ, the unity of faith;
- sharing a common purpose, that of making Christ famous
- working for the good of the body and not for a personal agenda,
- having a cooperative rather than a contrarian spirit;
- flowing with the vision rather than creating personal estuaries
- the commitment to love, to serve and to put others first, making sacrifices to accommodate others, loving as Jesus loved.
You and I could do with a personal gauge of what impact our thoughts, words and actions are having on the church, dividing or uniting? Are we of those who show up and who complain about everything, criticize everyone; who will not pray, will not fast, will not share the gospel; who dislike the music, dislike the greeters, dislike the greeted; who are quick to take offence and slow to forgive; who split hairs about the shape of the offering plate, wage war over sermon and seating; and are consequently a stumbling block to people coming to faith in Christ?
Or are we part of the answer to the prayer of Jesus – THAT THEY MAY BE ONE?