Unity, not Uniformity

Psalm 133

 

The Blessedness of Unity

A Song of Ascents
 

How very good and pleasant it is

    when kindred live together in unity!

It is like the precious oil on the head,

    running down upon the beard,

on the beard of Aaron,

    running down over the collar of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon,

    which falls on the mountains of Zion.

For there the Lord ordained his blessing,

    life forevermore.

 

Isn’t it wonderful when we all get along and live together in unity?
 
That isn’t always the way things work – even in the church!
I was a young pastor who had some experience in working with kids in my two summers as a camp counselor, but when it came to control over a class of junior high kids for an hour of confirmation class, I sometimes had a challenge.
 
One time I was having such a difficult time getting control of the class, I called on a member of my congregation who taught third grade. Wally was willing to come sit in on the class to observe my teaching skills and hopefully give me some helpful tools and advice.
 
Wally had several of these kids in his class a few years earlier, so he knew them. He sat in the back of the classroom as I made my way through the lesson, constantly stopping to get the kids to focus on the lesson instead of the disruptive classmates. Somehow I made it through the session and dismissed the kids with a closing prayer.
 
After the kids left, I turned to Wally and asked him for some advice. I will never forget his words of wisdom. He said, “Oh, you’re screwed!”
 
He went on to let me know that sometimes things are just what they are, and there is only so much you can do.
 
Thanks a lot, Wally!
 
Conflict and disarray can wear us down. We grow weary of trying to trudge through, but it is exhausting. Yes?
 
But when there is unity, and things are running smoothly, we rejoice. There is a sense of completeness, wholeness and satisfaction when that happens.
 
Notice that the word is UNITY, not UNIFORMITY. Unity focuses on the ability to work together. We may have different tasks and talents and even likes and dislikes. We may even support a different candidate in a political race. God did not create us to be a UNIFORMED group. God created us to be unique, but still able to be a part of the whole.
 
We are on the same team. We are a part of the same Body of Christ, and individually members of it. We are all called to proclaim the good news of great joy – through Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and set free from the bondage sin and death.
 
Yes, there are times when we seem to be rowing in different directions and Wally’s words of woe resound. But God is a forgiving God who doesn’t give up on us, even in those times of conflict and brokenness. God continues to invite us to work toward the common good. How very good and pleasant it is.
 

Let us pray:

Almighty God, you create us for community to work in unity, so that all may know of your great love for us. Break down the walls that divide and equip us to serve you with our hands and feet to do your will. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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