Unity is a word so often bounded around but with seemingly little meaning, and yet in the church context it's incredibly important.
One of my joys in church life is marvelling at how seemingly disparate groups of people can be brought together through genuine love.
I'm not aware of any other aspect of life that can bring the unlikliest people together for the good of themselves and their communities. Local church is amazing!
At Tree of Life we have South Africans, Angolan and Brits amongst us which makes for a great sense of diversity and I believe this reflects the nature of heaven.
In Ephesians 4 Paul talks about how different ministries are given to the church for the equipping of the saints for works of service. Paul goes on to say: "This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him." v13, he then tells us in Colossians that in bearing with each other and forgiving each other, we should "over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" Col 3:14. Unity is essential to church life but it's not just some pipe dream out there somewhere, it's something that we should be seeking in our own church life.
However, unity is so much bigger than what's going on in our local church. We know that the church is the bride of Christ. I made reference to this in my E post. One day Christ will present his bride to his father. This is part of the joy that was set before him on the cross (Heb 12:2). When he presents his bride there won't be an Anglican bride, a Catholic Bride, a Methodist Bride and a Charismatic bride. There will be one bride, the church. As such unity transcends our local church and should compel us to build bridges between our neighbouring churches. After all, one day we're going to be united whether we like it or not.
This post is part of a series in the Blogging From A To Z Challenge, April 2013.