The one about the ones4
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- Ephesians 4:3-6
Paul isn’t afraid to strike a beat. One and one … one … one, one, one … one … all … all, all, all. Today we’ll look at the “one” notes. Tomorrow we’ll look at the “all” notes. And they all have to do with this call toward unity.
The common body and common Spirit challenge our perceptions of the communities that inhabit our Christian tradition. We may be scattered across the globe, but we’re united. We may express our faith in Jesus in different ways, but we’re united.
Paul extends this argument into a reflection on the gospel. Jesus Christ is our only hope. He is our only Lord. We place our faith entirely in him. It’s to him that our public professions of allegiance belong.
Over and against all the things that can divide Christians and break fellowships, we have something bigger. Our Father who happens to be God dwarfs all of those divisive elements. We can always, always, always find a way to experience unity with our brothers and sisters in the family of God.
Christian theology roots our unity in our common relationships and common participation in Jesus’ story. This stands in stark contrast to our societal attempts to ground unity in our common humanity. Without denying our common humanity, Christian theology immerses that common humanity into something bigger and healthier than itself. And this something bigger creates a markedly unique expression of unity, the unity of the Spirit.
Theology isn’t some game nerds play on rainy days. Our view of who God is shapes our view of who we are and, consequently, influences all of our relationships.
As an expression of our unity in the Spirit, we thought it could be good to take some time today to pray for some of our neighboring churches. Think of a couple of churches near you and ask the Lord to bless them, to strengthen them, to provide for them, and to give them peace.
If you need help thinking of churches to pray for, consider praying for the following: Evergreen United Methodist, Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopalian, New Salem Baptist, Pittsboro Presbyterian, Pittsboro Baptist, Pittsboro Methodist, St. Julia’s Catholic, and the Word of Life Christian Outreach Center.