The Bonds of Christian Unity

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling…we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of ChristEphesians 4:1-4, 13

It can seem like the most unreasonable and scary commandment in the world to love one another, but that is what Christ commands us to do. We are told to dwell together in peace, faith and love; as one body in Christ. For how can we love a God we can not see if we can’t love the brothers and sisters that we can see?

So God commands us to love one another and to dwell together as one body in Christ. Why? He knows that some of us can’t stand each other! No one in here of course… But have you ever met someone who you just really and truly did not like? In cases like that, it is sometimes all I can do just not to kick them. The best I can do is just to have a live and let live attitude where they go their way and I go mine.

And that’s the people you don’t like. It can be just as hard to have peace and unity with the people you love! Not just to care for them, that’s a little easier. But God wants us to love each other as Christ loves the Church; with that perfected, unconditional, agape love. And sometimes it just seems downright impossible for me.

But God’s commandments are not thoughtless orders enforced on us for reasons we can’t understand. And that is true in this case. God tells us to love each other, dwelling together in peace and unity, because He knows what some folk may never figure out; that we need each other.

No man is an island. And in the gospel of Luke Jesus predicts this when he says that even the young strong man who is independent and a leader now will eventually grow old and be led away by the hand by someone else. Every one of us here needs someone; whether it is to provide us medical care, help us get dressed in the morning, or most importantly to be our friend. And every one of us is desperately needed; to provide a word of kindness to the downhearted, to show care and concern for each other, and to give love and consideration even when it may feel foreign or uncomfortable.

If we endeavor to draw together as the loving and peaceful community to which Christ calls us, then a situation of resentment, discord, and unhappiness can become at its best moments one of contentment, warmth and even joy. Let us do the best we can to have an in-breaking of the Kingdom of God right here. Let us really try.

I invite you and Christ exhorts you to say thank you and appreciate those who help you instead of enduring it in a stony resentment because you might have done it differently or even feeling sorry for yourself because you desperately and naturally wish you could be doing it yourself. And I encourage you as God commands you to make friends with people you might not even like; to express to them the loving compassion that Christ showed for you, that He shed his blood for, that He rose from the dead for, that He saved you for. It is after all, the only reason we are here.

I know it’s hard, and may be the last thing on earth you want to do. But remember, the Scripture says, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” So be it.