Why Our Unity is So Important and Beautiful to God
- 2016 6 Jan
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." JN 17.20-21
The night before Jesus died he prayed that his disciples would be one. Why was the unity of his followers so on his heart?
In college I majored in painting and still enjoy painting. I love color. I have around 20 tubes of different colored oil paints. I like Pthalo Blue and Cadmium Yellow and Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ocher. I like them by themselves but they’re 100 times more beautiful when mixed together and juxtaposed next to each other in a thousand surprising combinations. What makes a piece of art beautiful is the harmonies and relationships of the shapes and colors. A canvas that is all one color is boring.
In “Eyes Wide open: Enjoying God in Everything” author Steve DeWitt says that the amazing diversity in unity that we see in the creation points us to God. A stunning sunset, the glories of the Grand Canyon, the beauty of sunlight in a forest – the thousands of combinations of color and light and shape in nature, a symphony orchestra or a sports team working harmoniously – all the variations of diversity and harmony we see in the world – point us to God. Especially when we enjoy harmonious relationships.
“We enjoy holidays (the coming together of family), weddings and anniversaries (celebrations of the union of marriage), and Fourth of July parades (the unity of community and nation). Coming together feels great! Relational unity is humanity at its supreme and highest ideal. Have you ever wondered why the greatest memories of our lives or not things we bought or sites we saw or foods we ate? Think about your greatest memories. They probably have something to do with times of closeness with a parent, a child, a spouse, or a friend. Relational unity is beautiful because all the experiential harmonies of this world whisper of the wondrous beauty of the Godhead’s relational threeness and oneness.” – Steve DeWitt
Relational unity is beautiful because all the experiential harmonies of this world whisper of the wondrous beauty of the Godhead’s relational threeness and oneness.”
All the relational diversity and harmony we see on earth – in nature, music, sports, art, in family celebrations– points us to the love and harmony of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one God.
That’s why it is so important for us to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4.3). That’s why we should seek to be reconciled to one another and work out our differences as quickly as possible. To forgive one another and bear with one another. Because our unity in diversity in our families and churches reflects and points to God.
Do you have strained relationships with fellow believers? What can you do to promote love and unity in that relationship? Are you unreconciled with anyone? What can you do to seek reconciliation?
I know that relationships even among Christians can be messy. We often sin against one another and hurt each other. We have misunderstandings and offenses. But as much as it is up to us we should forgive, love and pursue the unity of the Spirit with every brother and sister.
Remember, when we love one another it is a reflection of the beautiful love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for one another and for us. O Lord God, grant us unity, love and harmony in our families and churches!
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Saving Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have five children and five grandchildren.