Katie Snipes Lancaster
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Spiritual Practice: Unity
When you first walk into the sanctuary, you are greeted by Abraham Lincoln. Just above his head is the image of a boat and the word “oikoumene” which symbolises our global commitment to the World Council of Churches. We are beyond denomination, and yet, we make a bold claim of connection with this worldwide organization whose goal is the “visible unity in one faith.”
A visible unity? Across all who commit to Jesus’ simple call to love God and neighbor? Some days this feels like an impossibility. It’s hard, some days, to even show visible unity with our own families, our own neighbors, our own communities, let alone within a global church. There is so much disunity in the world: quarreling, strife, friction, discord. In fact it doesn’t take much to see how those who “commit to Jesus’ simple call to love God and neighbor” have found many, many ways to pursue conflict instead of union.
How might we as Kenilworth “Union” Church be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)? How might we live as Psalm 133 proclaims “how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity”? It’s not easy. It doesn’t come naturally. It takes work. It takes discipline. It probably takes practice. And as Moltmann suggests, it is not the kind of unity that means “all are uniform.” This is no cookie cutter kingdom of God. Unity in diversity is the only way.
God of love.
You call us to love.
And yet, so often, we dissolve into conflict.
We let friction and strife take over.
We find our emotional response to one another
is at times in conflict with our own ethical commitments.
Help us to dwell together in unity.
Help us to thrive in the bond of peace.
Help us, O God.