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Not for Christians only.

If we put aside race, religion, politics, and issues that divide, I think many would agree that what we seek most from the world around us is love, respect, grace and peace.   If we get back to basing our hearts, thoughts and actions on those things, we can move forward in a way that will promote what I’m thinking of as Civil Unity.

Civil means applying to individual citizens and citizens as a whole.  It also speaks to public order, being peaceable in behavior, mannerly and polite.

Unity is about oneness, harmony.

Civil Unity speaks to all people about striving for public order, being peaceable and mannerly with others for oneness among us.

Civil Unity doesn’t mean we have to agree on all the issues. Differences of opinion can be good, and ultimately bring us to the best outcomes; but for that to happen, we have to approach things with an attitude of love and respect, showing grace and seeking peace.

Doing so requires something our society and many leaders lack – humility.  Humility is something I have to work on every day, for my human tendency is to be about self.  Humility teaches us to put others first, serve others, put others’ needs ahead of our own, and being more about the greater good of our community and the world around us than what we personally want from the world.

When we stop trying to make ours the loudest voices heard, we can listen to what others have to say, too, and listen with respect.

When we can offer grace to others by letting go of anger, frustration and personal grudges(those things hurt us more than the other person), we will reduce the tensions around us and create an environment that allows everyone to find their place and have a voice.  Thus, bringing about peace.

This will never be a perfect world, but if we humble ourselves and strive for civil unity among us, we can make it a better world.

Yes, I write from a Christian heart, and these are common themes in Christianity for they are what Jesus taught, how He lived and why Christians believe He died for us.  However, even those who do not claim Jesus as Savior and Lord, can benefit from His teachings.  We all benefit from those who live with love and respect for others.

Borrowing from the words of Paul:  Grace and peace, for all.

NOTE: If you would like to learn what Jesus taught, I encourage you to read about Him in the Bible, perhaps starting with the Book of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John (the first four books of the New Testament).  Some Bibles have red print indicating the words Jesus spoke.  You can read the Bible online at Bible Gateway.  They also have a great app!

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My message at Waltonwood today will be about Christian Unity (for Ecumenical Sunday).

This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan 18-Jan 25).  It is perfect timing in response to all the division happening in our country and around the world – especially in light of recent events surrounding the Presidential Inauguration here in the United States.

Are we still the “United” States?  Even our elected officials can’t come together for the goal of common good.  More than 60 stated their intent to boycott the Inauguration to express their disapproval of Donald Trump as President.

As Christians, we are called together in unity.  Paul warned against division amongst us in 1 Corinthians 1:10-18.

10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Jesus prayed for our unity in John chapter 17 (The High Priestly Prayer). Twice Jesus prayed that we (His believers, followers) would be one, just as He and the Father are one.  Unity.

 

In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I speak not just to Americans, but to our brothers and sisters around the world. With readers in the Philippines, Europe, Africa, Iraq, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, India, Asia, Canada, and all other countries, let us join hands with Christians around the world.

Quote by JK Rowling: “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” (Harry Potter and the Goblet of  Fire – #4)

(We are only as strong as our weakest links.  We should be lifting others up, helping them along.  When others succeed, we all succeed.)

Quote by Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers – All for one and one for all, united we stand, divided we fall.

Quote from John Lennon’s lyrics from the song “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and  no religion, too.  Imagine all the people living life in peace.  You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.

(He isn’t saying there shouldn’t be any religion at all.  He’s saying religion shouldn’t interfere with faith, looking to the day when we are united in faith.)

Quote of A W Tozer, The Pursuit of God:

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”

How can we show and share the love of Christ when there are divisions among us?

Unity begins with us.

May we, as Christians, put aside religious denominations, political affiliations, and nationalities to unite in our Christian beliefs and the teachings of Jesus, to model the practice of coming together in unity to promote love, respect, justice, mercy and compassion.  We pray these things for the glory and honor of Jesus, the Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

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