“You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope.” Ephesians 4:4 CEB
Last week Debbie and I celebrated our 21st anniversary. Over the 21 years we have done many different things to celebrate our anniversary. Most of the celebrations have been just the two of us. This year we did something different. For Christmas Debbie and the girls gave me tickets for the whole family to go see the musical School of Rock at the Straz Center. The tickets were for the show on our anniversary. We went to dinner before the show which meant that we spent about seven hours together as a family that night. I love spending time with my family. As the girls have gotten older I really love spending more time with them. They are truly wonderful young women who are fearfully and wonderfully made. I enjoyed this Christmas gift more than most for one reason, we were one as a family that night. It was a truly special night for me.
There is truly something special about being one. Unity is a very rare and elusive reality in the cultural climate in which we live. We are all too aware of our differences and not so aware of where we are in agreement. Therefore, when we find areas where we are united it is something to celebrate. This happens when a sports team unites in the common cause of reaching their goal. It happens when an orchestra unites in the common goal of playing a piece of music beautifully. Unity happens when any group or organization focuses on its purpose for existing. Apple computers exists to make computers that are fun to use. Whenever people unite together for a common cause or purpose there is unity. It is a very special thing when people are in unity.
This is what I love about Paul’s writing in the fourth chapter of his letter to the church at Ephesus. The letter is meant to help the new church remember who they are called to be. In the fourth chapter Paul reminds them who they are in Christ. Remember there were no denominations. There was no schism. There was no East or West. The church was united in following Jesus. There was one Lord, one faith, one baptism. He reminds them that they are one body and one spirit, just as God has called them to one hope. Later in the chapter he reminds them that their one hope is Jesus Christ. This writing of Paul’s reminds us of Jesus’ prayer in The Gospel of John where Jesus prays, “I pray they will be one.” (17:21) Unity is a very special thing, especially in the church, because it is what Jesus prayed for the church.
The way we experience unity in the church is to know Jesus. The more fully we grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus Christ the more united we will be. The more we focus on Christ the less we will focus on other things. The more united we are in Christ the more we follow Jesus in every area of our life. There is power in unity. There is transformation in unity. When we are united in one body, one spirit, and one hope there is nothing we can’t accomplish in the name of Christ.
So how united are we? Have you prayed for unity today? Are we working toward finding unity as one body, one spirit, and one hope? It is my prayer that we will all seek what Jesus desired for us; unity. When we are united in the name of Jesus Christ we can accomplish great things for the cause of Jesus Christ. We all need to ask the question every day, “How am I working to unify the body of Christ today?” No matter where you work or what you do or how spiritual you think you are … there is always at least one thing you can do every day to promote the unity of the body of Christ (the church). After all we are one body, one spirit, just as God called us to one hope. That hope is Jesus Christ. We are ONE in Jesus Christ.
This Sunday we will discuss the second half of the message series looking at our Vision for 2018. This message will help explore what it means to grow in Christ. We exist as the body of Christ to offer extreme grace and grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. I hope you will join us as the best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see you in church!