One of Jesus’ biggest concerns is the unity of those who believe in and follow Him. He makes this very clear in His intercessory prayer in John 17.
For many, unity is synonymous with uniformity: no differences, everyone is the same. In an ideal world, we ourselves are the measure of all things, and everyone else corresponds to our own ideal. This is not what Jesus wanted, on no account. He saw things completely different. Unity for Him means oneness in Christ. He does not expect everyone to be the same, but He does expect that we are all filled by His love, and love one another in our otherness.
If the love of Christ is missing in the congregation, differences will lead to division. All you will see is the otherness of your neighbour and feel frustrated. You will only see yourself and how you would do things differently, and probably better. But where the love of Christ exists, such thoughts will disappear, and differences will even be found to be enriching. In such a congregation everyone is one in Christ. Different. Completely different. But together in Christ.
Food for thought from a divine service by the Chief Apostle
Even today the Apostles, in fact, all of us, are sent by God to proclaim the gospel. The gospel is there for all people, because all suffer from sin.
When Jesus read from the Torah in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth, he read Isaiah 61: 1–2: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” Continue reading
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He had just brought the dead Lazarus back to life and thus aroused many hopes among the people. When the people noticed that He was not about to fulfil these hopes, they dropped Him like a hot potato.
Our earthly life is not always easy. We all have our difficulties and problems so that it is not possible to sing a cheerful alleluia every day. Yet God wants to give us deep and lasting joy in every divine service.
How does He do that? Does He take away all our problems, sort everything out in the best possible way, and then everything is fine again? Continue reading