I wonder about how we…divide.
I wonder about how we…separate.
I wonder about how we…classify.
I wonder about how we…get in the way.
How much does the Bible say, or address, this issue? How much does scripture speak of reconciliation and hope and differences – and yet our commonality and destiny?
Quite a bit.
- Scripture begins with the declaration that ALL people came from God and came from Adam and Eve. Scripture ENDS with all voices, nationalities, skin colors, tongues – coming TOGETHER under the banner of Christ’s work upon the cross.
- Paul declared on Mars Hill that nobody is superior over others. That “from one person God made every nation – that they should inhabit the whole earth.” That we are all his offspring – we have a common origin in God.
- We read in Genesis that we have another thing in common – we’re all broken. Romans 3 reminds us that we all fall short of the glory of God.
But then we look at the ministry of Christ – when he was here. He ministered to men, women, outcasts, in-casts (if that were even a word), lepers, blind, ailing – all those physically and spiritually struggling. He sat with thrice-over divorcees, people with good faith and those lacking. Jew, Gentile, Samaritan, Canaanite, Greek. Rabbi’s, closet-followers and even deniers.
His hope? John 10:16 states that in Christ’s passion he longed for one flock with one shepherd. The problem? The problem is that we have declared what that flock should look like. The problem is that we, both individually and within the church, have said that the flock must look like this, act like that, be over here, and not over there.
In the end – I think what convicts me is that we all, while different in many ways, we long for Christ. We long to be made one in him. Jesus, while coming near the cross, prays not for him…but for them to be ONE. He prays for their unity. That just as he and the Father and the Spirit are one…that we become one. And that there – becomes our witness. That we gather as believers in Christ regardless of anything else and that that gathering, where we come to learn and grow and be stretched and convicted and changed and sent…becomes part of the witness we declare…because that unity speaks of the gathering done BY the cross. That under the cross we aren’t Jew or Gentile, black or white, male or female, but we are adopted children…of God. Heirs. Co-heirs.
So how are you declaring unity?
How are you declaring our “gathering”?
How are you working against the ways of this world and culture that try to divide and separate rather than embrace, gather, and accept? The church, the Bride of Christ, is to reflect just how wide those arms were stretched upon the cross. And it’s hard work living into this task of the church…but it’s work that must be done.