Footsteps to Follow: A call for unity
Throughout the Bible, we are reminded by God that, no matter what we face in this life, He will be with us.
It seems in the past several months that I have leaned on this truth more than I ever have before.
The list of adjectives that we could use to describe the past several months is impressive: unprecedented, historic, and life-altering are just a few that come to mind.
That being said, though we would like this time to be over, we know it is far from it. COVID-19 is still circulating, tensions in our nation are still-raging, and there is a real threat to our unity as the body of Christ.
Sources of division are many right now. Views on the seriousness of the virus, the importance of wearing masks, political stances, and how we address racial tensions are just a few concepts that people have different opinions on at this point in history.
Where there is difference of opinion, there is opportunity for division. Make no mistake, Satan can and will attempt to use these differences to divide us as the body of Christ.
But division does not need to be inevitable; there are actions we can do as a people to allow unity and peace to reign in our midst.
First we can look to Jesus. While we may think of the Lord’s Prayer as the only prayer of Jesus, there is, in fact, another prayer that Jesus prayed in Scripture, which is found in John 17.
In that prayer for the disciples prior to His crucifixion, Jesus petitioned the Father to bring unity to all believers (John 17:20-26).
Of all the things Jesus could pray for, He chose unity. Jesus recognized that the church without unity loses its ability to be a witness to the world. If the church is divided, how can the world possibly find unity?
Second we can look to Jesus. Along with praying for unity, Jesus also modeled for us how unity can happen. In the book of Philippians, Paul wrote that we should “have the same mindset of Christ Jesus” and consider the interests of others above our own interests. (See Philippians 2:1-11.)
It is up to each of us, at this time, to think about others and their interests. This can be modeled in what we say and also in what we do. We all need to take steps to go “over and above” in our love, in our encouragement, and in our deference to one another at this time.
We can not look down on each other, criticize decisions about how people are dealing with the virus, or make people uncomfortable by doing whatever we please in regard to actions like social distancing and mask wearing.
Instead, we must seek to love others and to be a unified body.
Finally, we can, you guessed it, look to Jesus and join Him in praying for unity. We don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” in our prayer.
We can use the very template that Jesus provided, reading through and agreeing with Jesus in prayer with a simple Amen, which means “Let it be so!”
Please join me in looking to Jesus, in trusting in God to bring us unity, and in taking action to promote the unity we have in Jesus, for we are stronger together and are called to be a witness to our community and world!
Rev. Robert Rice, pastor, Muncy Baptist Church