We are all well aware of the great disunity in our country today ~ the media makes sure of it routinely. Our recent elections will offer further examples for those looking to amplify and illustrate the dividing lines and divisions. We do have problems a-plenty amongst us ~ genuine issues that can and do cause division and splintering of all kinds of groups and would-be and should-be groups. It’s not the point of this piece to discount or minimize any of the real work that needs to be done in our country, our states, our counties and communities. Yet often we can get along down the road to real progress better and faster, by taking a few moments for a bit of refreshing and uplifting. In this case, to take some quiet moments here and now to think on and recall ~ and even imagine, if necessary ~ how good and how pleasant it is in the moments and occasions and days and times when life is right, when things go “like they’re supposed to” and we dwell together in unity.
In our society today we usually only hear of unity and togetherness, and commonality of goal and purpose, on the heels of some disaster. And we are uplifted by that ~ even in the midst of deepest trouble ~ because oneness feels good! It warms our hearts in a unique way and brings us light amid that darkness; it feels “right” because it is right! It’s what we were created for and designed to dwell in ~ oneness with God our Father and Creator and Sustainer and oneness with Him causes us to be, in consequence, united with each other.
My husband and I recently had the blessing of attending an occasion that did just what I’m attempting to carry to you, share with you, and call you to ~ refreshing moments of uplifting and strengthening from dwelling on and remembering unity among brothers, the family of God. It wasn’t a huge affair and unity wasn’t its goal, but it certainly was a powerful by-product! The peace and warmth in the event so blessed one of the attendees that in the wee hours of the morning ~ still moved and uplifted by the simple, sweet spirit present through the event ~ he sent out a note of deep thanks to those whose work had made the occasion occur.
The event was a pastors appreciation dinner to thank and honor local pastors and their wives for their service in their churches ~ and consequently our community ~ in sharing the Gospel and equipping others to do likewise. It was non-denominational and most of the diverse cultures in our community were represented in the honorees, and so ~ to the author of the early morning note of thanks ~ it felt like a tiny bit of what heaven might be like. He was twice-blessed by the unity and harmony of the evening because he had behind the scenes knowledge…
The dinner was organized and led by a couple of men who ~ while, brothers in the Lord, of course ~ are about as opposite as can be in their way of walking with the Lord and in going about the work of serving the Lord. They have served together for years in the organization that hosted the pastors event, bumping along and rubbing up against each other yet still focused not on their differences, but on their united goal ~ reaching the lost and unknowing with the gospel, the Good News of salvation and true life in Jesus Christ. Yet here they had produced and led a rich, warm evening of blessing for many, hallmarked by a sweet spirit of unity.
One of these two men recently shared in one of the organization’s prayer breakfasts that he was deeply and richly blessed by the love and unity present in the group ~ that it felt to him like a bit of what the family of God truly is. He has heavy burdens in his life, which often give him often a bit of terseness and abruptness in his manner, but the love of the brethren in the group is so good and pleasant to him, it brought him to the edge of tears and a rare-for-him bit of openness in sharing, which in turn blessed and uplifted those who heard it.
So now I invite you, in your turn, to take some moments to consider where in your life it is good and pleasant where brothers dwell together in unity. Maybe they’re a little hard to find, but make the effort to find and recall them and give thanks for them. Pleasant, warm, uplifting moments and areas in our life are for most of us increasingly hard to find, but let’s not overlook the opportunities for the light and warmth and strengthening these recollections can generate! If you truly don’t have this kind of blessing anywhere else in your life, you do have it with the Lord, so spend some moments being thankful for that goodness, which in the busyness of life we can lose so easily! Then go on and ask the Lord to work through you to help bring that kind of unity to some part of your world, for the sake of the goodness and pleasantness and uplifting for you, and the family of God, and for spreading the Light of the gospel in dark corners.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. ~ John 10:10