The pastor invites the congregation of 1,200 members into a time of prayer—but this time, the congregation is encouraged to take a posture that feels appropriate to them: sitting, standing, coming to the altar at the front, or perhaps kneeling at their pew. A moment passes. Only one moment. I gaze over the sanctuary from my side-balcony perspective and, in one moment, see almost 1,200 people kneel, turn, and pray on their knees to the Creator of the Universe.
In moments like this, it’s easy to feel unified, isn’t it? In this one moment, a time when we are led, in a place that feels familiar to us, where the norms are known and not shamed, where everyone has at least one common purpose that brings them together.
“Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity”
This first phrase of Psalm 133 feels a bit contradictory to the reality of our world today, doesn’t it? Unity is not something flashed across our news headlines; unity is not often displayed in the pictures you see scrolling through your Facebook. Perhaps you even feel the pulse of disunity in your own neighborhood.
Unity, says the Lord, is good and pleasant. But often, unity does not come without a shared vision, a shared understanding. How then, can we shift our understanding—of God, of God’s kingdom, of our role within God’s kingdom work—so that we become more unified with Jesus and our neighbor?
Have you ever been to a college football game? I have been to a plethora of Michigan State football games, and it never ceases to amaze me how much unity is present in the stadium. Often, when you stroll down the sidewalks of this tree-filled, East Lansing campus, someone will pass you, yelling “Go green!” and the norm is to respond, “Go white!” (White and green are Michigan State’s school colors.) There is unity in love for the Spartans, that’s for sure. And yet, those football game attendees who are not Michigan State fans are often looked down upon. Even in unity these days, it seems, there is often disunity.
What would it look like if our worshipping communities led the vision for unity in our neighborhoods? What if our neighborhoods offered a tangible sign of witness for our states; our states for our country; our country for the next… Such a vision sounds impossible, doesn’t it?
But, this is the work of God’s kingdom—bringing full restoration to all of Creation. And what does this full restoration look like? Unity.
Today, God is asking us to join Him in this work. Can you feel it? Can you feel the stirring in your heart? Is God asking you to humbly join in doing something small? Perhaps, it is reconciling with a dear friend; maybe it is knocking on your neighbor’s door and inviting them over for dinner; it may be in a conversation you have with the woman standing behind you at the grocery store.
In a time in which the world seems to be continually disunified, where is God asking you to join with Him in bringing forth the fruit of His Kingdom? Where is He inviting you to initiate, experience, and witness unity?
After all, how good and pleasant it is when brethren—families, neighbors, communities, churches, schools, work places—live in unity.