The Beauty of Unity


Has it ever occured to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which one must individually bow.
—A.W. Tozer

A few weeks ago, I wrote that from my perspective the way Christian bloggers were acting out their take on the Gospel might be having deleterious effects (“Is Christianity Broken?“) I never truly came back with a definitive answer to that question and I surprised myself today by instead thinking about the one thing that I often find missing in the Internet “version” of Christianity—the one thing I have found in rare, but more frequent times in my real face-to-face acting out of the life of a follower of Jesus.

That beautiful thing that has no duplicate is the beauty of Christian unity.

I am not talking about ecumenism. I am not discussing the way some Christians gang together to oppose a common enemy (real or imagined.) What I am speaking of is when a number of likeminded believers in Jesus are joined together in a moment of true unity.

I can remember every one of those moments in my life:

  • An eighth grade winter retreat to a camp in which we all shared communion by the light of candles and sang praises like there was no tomorrow
  • The Applachian building project with the youth group from my Lutheran church
  • The men’s off-campus small group I co-led at Carnegie Mellon University
  • A staff trip to a pizza place in a small town outside of the camp where we worked for that one glorious summer
  • Urbana ’84
  • Hanging out at Pizza Hut with Jeff and Dan
  • A Bible study I was a part of in my twenties with two other men I worked with at a camp in Wisconsin
  • The staff worship and fellowship group at a camp in Wisconsin
  • The early days of the Norwood Kinship group at the Vineyard in Cincinnati
  • Our honeymoon in Paris

UnityI can remember all of those like it was yesterday. And the one thing that binds them all together is the unity of the Body of Christ. Likeminded people coming together in such a way that what is made from that moment is more than the sum of mere parts. We look around and we just know that God is here and we are of one heart and mind. It is euphoric in a way that changes lives.

What is sad is that the longer I have been a Christian the fewer of these times I’ve experienced. Is this because the child-like faith of youth grows up to know too many things that only serve to dampen the enthusiaism of that first love of Jesus? I hope this is not the case. I know I long to experience that unity many more times in my life. Times with God in those united moments are alive and thrilling, yet too often taken for granted.

For the month of May, my prayer is for unity of the Body of Christ, that like Tozer’s tuning fork, we who claim the name of Jesus Christ be so thoroughly attuned to Him that we naturally share one accord.

The psalmist writes:

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
—Psalms 133:1-3 ESV

That unity affords us the abundance of the Holy Spirit, like oil, overflowing. How can anyone not be stirred to know that when we are truly in one accord that God is mightily with us?

So for the month of May, this is my prayer. I will be praying it every day, even singing it. For Rick Ridings, way back in 1976 wrote a song that adapts Psalm 133 for the Body of Christ. That song is always near my thoughts:

Father, make us one,
Father, make us one,
That the world may know
Thou hast sent the Son,
Father, make us one.

Behold how pleasant and how good it is
For brethren to dwell in unity,
For there the Lord commands the blessing,
Life forevermore.

That’s what I will be praying for thirty-one straight days. Will you join me?

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