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.