Tag Archives: Christ

Christian Unity: when it’s no longer my first priority

group hands

It gnaws at me, and my eyes narrow in frustration. I scatter about, externally searching here and there and flexing my knowledge over this and that, but still, this Thing; it creeps in me and through me. Truth is, sometimes I don’t know if this ‘Thing’ is the Holy Spirit or if it is my ego or if it is your ego.

The idea of Christian unity, it eats away at me.

I read about the call to unity in blog posts, magazine articles, and books. Pastors and churchgoers throw the term around too; I wonder what they think it means. Is a call for unity to quell throngs of bad press over what this pastor said or what this church refused to do or is it the desire that all believers move in harmony for the cause of Christ? I don’t know anymore.

If unity looks like all of us, hiding under a giant blanket, made from cries of “For the Sake of the Gospel!” then I’m throwing off that blanket, and I’m walking away from Christian unity for the sake of the Gospel.

And this, friends, this is where it can get ugly, and in the ugliness, it’s tempting to go find that Gospel blanket and check out of church chaos. However, as Christians, we are to share the gospel with our lives, we are to be the hands and feet and arms of Jesus. We are called to the royal priesthood, all of us (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Pause for a moment with me?

We are all called to the royal priesthood. All are called.

Beautiful invitation isn’t it?

We are invited to partner with Christ in the work he is doing here on earth. Before I can see a way for unity, I must first commit myself to partnering with Christ. In my life it looks like examining and putting in to practice Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologica: “Hence mercy, whereby we supply others’ defects is a sacrifice more acceptable to [God], as conducing more directly to our neighbor’s well-being, according to Hebrews 13:16: “Do not forget to do good and to impart, for by such sacrifices God’s favor is obtained.”

. . .The sum total of the Christian religion consists in mercy, as regards external works: but the inward love of charity, whereby we are united to God preponderates over both love and mercy for our neighbor. . . Charity likens us to God by uniting us to Him in the bond of love: wherefore it surpasses mercy, which likens us to God as regards similarity of works.” (Secunda Secundæ Partis, Question 30)

Being united in a bond of love, yes, that’s what I want. I want that for the whole Church, I really do. And yet, there’s not much point in working towards Christian unity, until we address issues of equality. If Christian unity costs equality, I’m out; that’s too high a price.

Extending Christ’s invitation to all people, everywhere, no matter your gender, your race, or sexual orientation; this isn’t a liberal agenda, it is a gospel agenda.

Yet, we’re so busy finger pointing and “Bible clearly-ing” people, and we’re wounding, not helping.

Christ came to bind up wounds, to be near to the broken hearted, and are we reflecting this same heart?

I must ask myself this question more often than I do because honestly, I get caught up in doctrine and theology and right and wrong, and I forget about humans, you know, the reason Jesus came to earth.

If we’re to bind up wounds, we need to see them first. Our eyes must not turn from injustice and  inequalities in our own congregations. This is the real work that needs to be done before unity will ever be possible.

{What are your thoughts, friends? Are you frustrated by calls to unity? Let’s talk.}