No Division

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

In a culture where even our divisions have divisions, Paul’s words to the Corinthians may appear as impossible to you as it did to those who first heard him. Over the course of time, we’ve divided ourselves into neat boxes; handy categories. Either you’re a Republican or a Democrat. You’re either straight or gay. You’re pro-life or you’re pro-choice. You’re either completely for the president and his policies or you’re completely opposed to them. Nice little convenient divisions, wouldn’t you say? And that’s just our politics!

Now consider the church. The place where Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians should ring through most clearly. Yet they don’t seem to. Often it isn’t the Word of God alone that governs our lives or our theology. We frequently believe ourselves wise enough to add to or take away from His word. Or perhaps we think we can climb into the mind of the Lord and ascertain what He “really means” by what He says.

We are a divided people. And that’s no good. Jesus would have us unified. Is Christ divided? Does He say one thing and do another? Does He categorize everyone into nifty little packages and set us aside until He has use for us? No way! The only division Jesus is okay with is the division between the “sheep” and the “goats”; between the redeemed and those who have rejected Him. You are either for Jesus or you are against Him. This division cuts to the heart of the matter.

Those who are in Christ are united. Christ has banded us together from all time and all places. A rag-tag group of sinners made right by the power of His shed blood. And it’s in that very blood we are given unity. In the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, we become one. Just as Jesus is one with His Father and we are all one with Jesus, so He makes us one together in His name.

Unity is not agreeing to disagree. Unity is Christ bringing us together in His Word and His Sacraments. Unity is not coexistence. Unity is Christ alone forgiving us all our sins for the sake of His sacrifice on the cross. Unity is not quietly holding grudges. Unity is brothers and sisters in Christ shoulder to shoulder at the altar receiving the goods as only Jesus can provide.

That we would strive toward unity in the Truth revealed to us by God’s own words. That all disputes, especially those in the church, would be seen in the light of His Word. That we would submit to the authority of our Lord. That all brokenness and disunity would be healed and restored by Jesus. O, that He would bring about His perfect unity among us!

Even in the midst of a culture that has lost all desire for unity, Christ and His church shine brightly as He creates unity and keeps us unified in Him. May we be of one mind; Christ’s mind!

Lord Jesus, try as we might, we are unable to bring forth true unity. For this we rely on you. Therefore, unify us in your Word and Truth! Amen.

Division Destroyed

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Romans 16:17

With so much that divides, would it be worth looking for ways to come together? Oh, I absolutely know we will never fully agree on everything, but what about the some-things? Is it within our nature to look past differences toward similarities? Is it possible to find some piece of common ground upon which to stand, even with those whom you thoroughly disagree? If it is possible, that means a place has been found where something can be built. Perhaps a friendship.

Jesus Christ is always a rock-solid foundation. He is not always common ground between two people. Should these people avoid each other? I don’t think so. Can they be friends? Absolutely. Might Christ work His way to the center of the friendship? Only one way to find out!

Jesus, guide us to find common ground to build upon. Amen.