“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
This Sunday afternoon a group of funny looking men gathered in a church building downtown. I was one of the funny looking men by the way. There were 8 of us, we didn’t look all that special. One guy in a nice tie and dress clothes, the other in a black overoat looking very Russian, Daniel in his sweater. A cuban fellow, Rafael, who spoke in slow, deliberate Ukrainian (or Russian I couldn’t quite tell), began to share with this group of men his vision for unity, or rather the Lord’s desire for unity in this town among all believers. He had some interesting thoughts about performing some symbolic acts of unity (involving Joshua type monument stones… remember the memorial he built to remind Israel of their deliverance?). The men represented were the pastors of the local fellowships here in RZ, and a neighboring town to the north. A pentecostal church, baptist, another pentecostal/charismatic church, a seventh day adventist young guy, and Daniel and I representing the non denominational… For the first time, in the history (from what I understand) these men sat at a table together in this capacity. We listened to Rafael and then each shared their thoughts on ‘working together’. It seems, although there are some dividing doctrinal issue, the consensus was that God would be glorified if we met together and prayed. It was very cool to be part of that meeting. In my view anyway, the few Christians in this town need one another, and unity among God’s people starts with the leaders legitimately caring and in relationship with one another. So among the 150 or so Christians in this town of 10,000, God’s people may expect blessing from this. More than this, this community will experience a greater level of witness to the reality and love of Jesus Christ for them, through the willing togetherness of these few church bodies.
I praise God for this. I’m not in to ecumenical sentimentalism (is that a word) for its own sake. However, for the purpose of ‘not’ being divided visably among the town, this could speak volumes. Consider Jesus words in John 13:35, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” If we are to have any significant witness among the community, there must be some semblance of unity and care. A laying aside of personal pride, insecurities and a real ‘gut check’ for these men to consider if we’re all truly in this for Christ and His church. Pray for our weekly meetings would you? It would be a great witness for this community to see all christians working or serving together in the future.
Bruce & Deb