In one of his shortest psalms, King David makes this wonderful declaration: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity" (Psalms 133:1).
As busy, modern Americans, we know all too well the myriad divisions that exist among us. There are economic divisions that reveal the gap between those of wealth and those of poverty: the "haves" and "have nots." There are political divisions, becoming increasingly evident during this election year as 24/7 news channels bombard us with endless polls and expert analysis. There are philosophical divisions that war against each other in virtually every area of human life, from losing weight to raising children. And, yes, there are divisions within our own homes and families; disagreements over plans and priorities, schedules and activities, music and menus.
Frustrated by such divisions, many look to Christianity for some sense of unity and stability, for comfort and consolation, for hope, faith and encouragement to cope with all the other divisions in life as well as their temporal, daily struggles. Yet even here, they regrettably often find only more division.
Considering all this, how illusive do the psalmist's words sound to our contemporary ears: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity."
As we presently observe a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, perhaps our common prayer should first and foremost include an element of collective repentance: of honestly facing, confessing and admitting the DISunity that exists within the Body of Christ and committing ourselves by any and all possible means to overcome the divisions that separate us.
So many in our troubled world still urgently seek and desperately need to see the Body of Christ tirelessly engaged in the work of Christ. They need to see a Christianity not divided among countless buildings dotting the local landscape but united in a living faith that can move mountains and impact the world as much as did its Lord when He "emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (cf Philippians 2); Who revealed Himself as "The Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6) and calls those who would follow Him to deny themselves and take up the cross.
During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, let us resolve to pray for unity within the Body of Christ. But let us also allow our prayer to move from our mouths to our muscles and work to promote it.
Perhaps then Our Gracious Lord will bestow upon us at least a glimpse of "how good and pleasant it is" to dwell in unity!"
- Kovalak, is the pastor of Holy Cross Orthodox Church, 1725 Holy Cross Lane in Loyalsock Township