“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I pray that the Protestant churches might be one. I pray that the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches would meet again in worshipful unity, as Protestants (in all of its various stripes and patterns) would be unified with those older expressions of the faith. Why do I say this? Let me bold in this suggestion:
May I suggest that disunity is a tremendous stumbling block for faith in Jesus Christ?
Disunity is not something new though, it’s been around for quite awhile. There has been conflict and fights even in the Book of Acts. There were fights between Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Peter, and the false teachers who were there in very beginning. But yet, these imperfect people still wrote endlessly about our need to love one another, even in conflicts.
God has called his church to be one just as he, the Trinitiarian God, is one. Mirroring this Trinitarian dance, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (living in dynamic harmony), so does the church need to love each other.
When the church is faithful to the gospel of Jesus (“while we were sinners, Christ died for us” is a great starting point for this), then unity can possibly be recovered. For any peace must be found in the Prince of Peace. For Jesus “himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14).
Friends, unity in the Church (not just your local church, but the Global Church) is important. But don’t take my word for it, take Jesus’ word:
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me andloved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved mebefore the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Where are some bright spots on unity?