“…. We are One in the Spirit, we are One in the Lord. And we pray that our unity will one day be restored. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
I’ve known that song for 40 years, but it is the Jars of Clay version that pops in my head these days…. Love it!
Isn’t it awesome how unified the church is? Everyone believes the same essential doctrines, no one ever argues about trivial points of theology, and Love and Forgiveness are the rule of the day, practiced by all.
I know: “NOT!!!”
Think about it for a second, though. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were really the truth about the church? Wouldn’t it be nice if each congregation was unified and people all got along? Wouldn’t it be nice if believers from varying denominations could sit around and talk about their differences in methodology and perspectives and gladly learn from each other? Wouldn’t it be nice if the Mark Driscolls and Rob Bells of the world could shoot the breeze over a cup of coffee and discuss what it means to be saved without it devolving into a debate or name-calling episode? Wouldn’t it be nice if online chats/forums were handled with grace and charity by those that disagree on theological topics?
Wouldn’t it be nice if people in the “Church” went out of their way to bring unity back to the Body of Christ when it starts to fracture? Well, guess what? Some are trying to do just that!
Rachel Held Evans is one of those people. Rachel is a young writer, blogger and speaker and she came up with a great idea: for the first week of May, she’s organized a “Rally to Restore Unity” where among other things, interested folks can:
- Participate in a “synchroblog” – anyone is welcome to share a blog post on restoring unity
- Post a “sign” related to the topic. (My favorite so far: “I DISAGREE! But, I’m pretty sure you’re not a heretic….”)
- Make a donation to provide clean drinking water to people that need it through “Charity:Water” (if you’re going to do a rally, might as well do something charitable along the way)
- Spread the word by “liking” the Facebook page or tweeting to #restoreunity
Here’s a link to Rachel’s blog post announcing the rally: http://rachelheldevans.com/rally-to-restore-unity
Restoring unity within the church is a topic that is “near and dear” to my heart. (With my blog titled “Reconciling Viewpoints”, you might have already guessed that!) And I gotta say, I think the topic of unity among believers was pretty “near and dear” to Jesus’ heart as well. After all, the last prayer Jesus offered up in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested (according to John 17) was a prayer for the church to be united: “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:23b.
One effect of all the technological advances in the world is that everyone can share opinions and have their voice heard. Unfortunately, not all of the “voices” that are heard in cyberspace are reasonable and/or graceful, even when those folks should be considered “brothers in Christ”. (Yeah, like Cain and Abel they are brothers!) Well, Rachel and others think we ought to do something about it… so here is the “Rally to Restore Unity”!
I’ll post an entry or two to the “synchroblog” next week to play my part. In fact, I’m planning on explaining that “logo” I have with all of the circles and the cross in the center, in case you’ve ever wondered what that’s all about….
Followers of Jesus united in faith, hope and love. It could happen. “Wouldn’t it be nice….”