The Call Toward Unity

October 2020

For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body — so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, which our respectable parts do not need.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-24)

I once heard it said: 

“If a football team is unified, it does not mean everyone is playing the same position. It means that everyone is going to the same goal line. If an orchestra is harmonious, it’s not because they’re all playing the same instrument; it’s because they’re all playing the same song. If a choir is singing in great harmony, it’s not because they are singing the same parts; it’s because they’re adding their part to the same song. It is the goal that produces the unity. Unity is not sameness. Unity has to do with same purpose.”

UNITY.

A condition of harmony.

UNITY.

The quality or state of being made one.

UNITY.

The telling of one story through the convergence of many stories.


On the whole, unity brings us closer to others – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It allows us to achieve what would be impossible on our own. It doesn’t mean sameness or that we agree with everything and everyone, but instead that we choose to see one another for who we are, despite our differences and beliefs. Unity requires that we rally around the same purpose – the purpose that we, as human beings, have to make our world, families, communities, and selves better;  it the purpose that we have to make this life more whole and loving. 

Unity – in the perfect sense – is a fruitful action. It stirs up feelings of sweetness and power. Yet, engaging in collective action isn’t for the faint of heart. Movement toward unity is difficult; uncomfortable; challenging. I don’t know about you, but the most uncomfortable part about unity for me is that it dismantles the size and heir of our pride, of our egos; of the very things that distance us from each other and from our God. The discomfort of unity challenges us to look ourselves in the mirrors and to examine our contribution to the division that permeates our world, while simultaneously extending to us the invitation to join forces with moral purpose. Unity challenges us to face opposition because it allows us as individuals to proceed together on one accord. In its fullest sense, it helps us to say: “I still believe; ” for it releases the potential of endless possibilities within each of our own mustard seeds. 

There is no doubt that today, we are living in challenging times. Our world is chaotic, always seemingly on the edge of some great disruption.  

Worldwide sickness. 

Poverty.

Emotional hopelessness. 

Fear.

Racism. 

War. 

Death. 

Many state that they struggle to believe the possibilities for a better tomorrow; for a hope that launches us into peace and place where every life matters equally – where all are respected no matter the color of skin, where all are loved for who they are. Maybe you’re that person this morning? Perhaps you are struggling to believe in the great potential our world holds – the potential within each of us to make a difference? Perhaps, you are struggling to see your own ability to live in relationship with others because the wounds of pain, frustration, and unforgiveness have seeped so deeply into your heart that you know not what to do with them? Perhaps, you are struggling to see and pursue unity in your own life? 

If this you, know that you are not alone, and that there is a path to harmony; a path toward seeing the great potential and purpose within each of us. 

So… how do we pursue unity? The answer is both simple and complex. 

We pursue unity most simply by pursuing community. We choose to authentically engage with others who are different than ourselves or for whom we find challenging. Its pursuit invites us into a space of curiosity… into a space of seeing… of being inquisitive about our brothers and sisters – not in a nosey way, but a way that opens us up to know their hearts, minds, and experiences without judgment and ulterior motive. In that pursuit, we lay down our wants and desires for self and seek to see and know the very people before us. Pursuing unity requires vulnerability – that place where we seek and offer forgiveness when we’ve hurt another – knowingly and unknowingly. It calls us to turn away from what we know is wrong and not in the best interests of our brothers and sisters; and therefore, ultimately ourselves. Pursuing unity requires us to have the tough conversations – you know, the ones that make our heads swirls, heart beat a bit faster, and our palms sweat? 

We, too, can pursue unity by being kind and hospitable, by extending grace and unmerited favor; by offering others our best in service to them. We can choose unity by listening to others even when we don’t like what they have to say or when their words challenge us to look deep inside our own mustard seeds. And when we remain in a space to confront the hardest things in life – believing we can and will be undivided, we choose unity. 

And yet while choosing unity may strike some as the easy part, remaining a unified body is difficult. Why? Because it requires that we all continually choose to be our best selves each day. Remaining unified requires that we intentionally make the choice to seek mature community and display mature behavior; for when we stand in faith upon God’s good character and integrity, trusting that our individual and collective purposes will not only develop and strengthen our tenacity, but that our stories will converge to tell a greater and more epic story than what we could have ever imagined – It is then that we display the unquenchable power unity brings. In remaining unified, we live by the life of Jesus and in the examples of so many found in the Gospel. We live in a way reflective of our focus on heavenly things, and not just the ever-fading things of our earthly world. We chose not to be myopic, but hyperopic. 

By remaining, we demonstrate that we seek peace in our communities; working for what’s right, even when our pursuit causes disruptions in the hearts and minds of others. 

Remaining is the choice to embrace oneness under the banner of what’s morally right. 

Remaining is the choice to love our neighbors with the same intensity that we love ourselves.

In this year, will you choose to remain? Will you choose to pursue unity? Will you choose to be vulnerable in the hope that others will too? Will you choose to access and release collectively the Spirit and potential inside your mustard seed? 

In closing, I invite you to reflect upon how unity, its pursuit, and the choice to remain have already taken root in your life. 

Consider the last time you were part of a divided community. 

How did that make you feel? 

In what ways did you contribute to its division? 

How could you have made that community more unified? Were there skills and gifts could you have given to the group to help with unification… in helping others grow more fully into their potential? 

Will you choose to do that now? 

Friends, because of the Jesus Christ and the work of our “great cloud of witnesses,” we have come into a new season; a season where the harvest of unity will only be as great as our choice to release and plant mustard seeds with endless possibilities. I ask you, will you be the fertile ground in which community grows? Will you plant good seeds for the harvest? Will you choose to support the unification of other seeds in the field? 

I know I am committed to doing so. Please join me. 

Worship for Encouragement

“I need you, you need me.
We’re all a part of God’s body.
Stand with me, agree with me.
We’re all a part of God’s body.
It is his will, that every need be supplied.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
I pray for you, You pray for me.
I love you, I need you to survive.
I won’t harm you with words from my mouth.
I love you, I need you to survive.
It is his will, that every need be supplied.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.

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