» When Jesus says to perplexed and ineffective disciples, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (Mk 9:29), he’s saying that prayer accomplishes what other methods do not and cannot. Join us tonight for Selah at 7p to accomplish what cannot be accomplished by other means. We’ll continue to pray for an end to Covid, for Care Net (we’re observing Sanctity of Human Life Sunday this week), and for the new administration.
» Though Jesus teaches something like the opposite, it’s remarkable how many Christians assume that unity comes through agreement in all things. A smaller number of believers are, in effect, always insisting we must agree on everything — unity through group-think. As you might expect, their method is never for them to adopt your views, but for you to adopt theirs.
» Jesus never taught unity through agreement. He taught something much more practical and realistic: unity in the face of disagreement. He taught that we were reconciled and united, both to God and to each other, at the cross of Christ, “thereby killing the hostility” (Eph 2:12-15). He taught that he was building a new household of God, a new temple, and that we are “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (v.22). Of that new structure, he is the cornerstone. For this reason, we must put off the old self and put on the new, in which “there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:11). Our unity is in Christ.
» The Lord also taught our means of living out that unity should be the same as his in achieving it: love, forbearance, and forgiveness. It’s love that binds us together when we sin (1 Pet 4:8), not the absence of sin or the absence of the conflict it inevitably creates. Jesus was not afraid to leverage this idea: “if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Mt. 6:15). Love and forgiveness, not group-think, are the basis for unity in the new household. Just before he died, Jesus said to his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34). The disciples were hardly a homogeneous band of brothers at the start, but with time they became co-laborers in a work that transcended everything else in their lives. This needs to be true for us.
» The reason Christians divide over cultural and political matters is because Christ has ceased to be the one ultimate, transcendent truth of their lives. Christ is no longer their Lord. They have abandoned him for other masters — some ideologue, some compelling speaker, an idiotic website or ideology, a movement, a cause. For a time they try to dress-up their new master in Christian slogans, but eventually they end up at churches that are essentially social-work centers, with no hope or vision that transcends this life. Don’t sell your birthright for a pot of stew (Gen 25). We are heirs with Christ — imagine it! — provided we endure with him. Love, forbear, forgive. By these means, through him, we work together as one toward a hope that cannot perish, spoil, or fade.