Being Together

I'm not sure what is happening. After a very busy weekend and a few short nights I managed to get through last night's leaders' meeting without feeling tired. It was a shame to be away from home for the whole day, but these things can't be avoided and spending the evening in an atmosphere of prophetic sharpness and spiritual strength more than made up for it.

If there is one thing I'd like to comment on from last night, it is the 'word' on unity.

Painting at White Stone Community by Ruth DecisiveForgive me, sometimes I need to filter prophetic words before I can get a grip on them. Sometimes a word can be intended to cut to the heart but it is largely short lived. I have trouble dealing with the limited substance of words like those. However I don't think this was one of those words, time will tell... but I hope not...

Unity, or oneness as it was largely referred to, is an unimaginably important matter. Yet it is a hope Christians barely aspire to. We're commonly too interested in getting on with our own lives rather than laying lives down for one another.

Did I say it is incredibly important? Yes, it is: The Spirit came on Pentecost in the context of disciples staying and praying together. Jesus' prayer is for the closeness of the Trinity among brother-disciples. God finds oneness attractive. He wants to abide in us. This issue was crucial to me when I first became a Christian and it is more so now.

The appeal of community living is that it makes such a dream of unity possible. It is crucial that I share my life with others, including everything in my life-style, all the things I like, my preferences, my secret joys; it opens the door to bonds of peace with my brothers and sisters. And for the sake of others many of my personal preferences must go by-the-by. They must go because only one thing is necessary, and that is that we are able to know Jesus together. There is a price to oneness.

Unity must never be a sham. It is dangerous if it is just a front, a uniform a group uses to look impressive. Unity has to arise from the hearts of believers, disciples who choose to rely on one another. It is about the closeness of a brotherhood committed to a cause. It can never be just one of these: only the cause or only my brothers, but both together. Cause without brotherhood is ruthless and lifeless, brotherhood without cause is self-centred with ill-disciplined power. God desires love for him and love for one another, a oneness through commitment to the Father expressed by our commitment to each other.

Unity is not based on principles, though they can be used to measure our commitment. Unity is about an agreement of heart. It is not ecumenicalism, it is not a cover-all blanket. It is about knowing that if we stray from the path we fall out with God. He hates unfaithfulness, including among brothers. He expects us to be fanatical only about Him, together; that is where our unity begins.

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