“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
We live in a world divided. All around us, people are separated by suspicion, rivalries, differing opinions, and struggles for justice. Even in the church pews, we find division and fractures. Evidences of this brokenness are all around us.
On the night that He died, Jesus prayed gentle words over the disciples. The focus of His prayer was the unity of believers – both then and now. Even as He and the Father were one, He asked that the disciples – the body of believers, His church – would be one unified in heart and mind and action.
Jesus’ mission here on earth was one of reconciliation. He came to reconcile us to God through His death and resurrection. He came to reconcile us to one another as members of the same body, His church. Yet, here we are a few thousand years later divided into denominations and separated by schisms.
The Bible gives no indication that heaven caters to a specific sect or preferred persuasion. Jesus will not assign us to gated communities based on how we choose to worship on earth. Baptist? The neighborhood behind that wall. Pentecostal? The neighborhood beyond this wall. Catholic? The neighborhood on the east side. A narrow way exists that leads to one gate; His name is Jesus. When we finally and gratefully enter in through that gate, we will encounter people there that we sought to exclude with our criticism and our condemnation. Eternity lasts a long time.
Jesus laid down His life so that we would be one – with the Father and one another. What could we lay down to promote unity within this body of believers? To whom could we extend the hand of fellowship? When could we speak tender words to dispel tension? Where could we seek the similarities and disregard the differences? The Spirit within us calls out for peace and unity.