Thursday, August 4, 2011


"Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose...Can Christ be divided into pieces?"

This was written two thousand years ago by a man named Paul. Paul was a persecutor of the Church and encouraged, if not participated in, the killings of countless Christians--he was called "Saul" at that time. Then he met Jesus (FYI, Jesus had already gone back to heaven). The story goes that he was struck blind, and this man who was so prideful and powerful, was at the mercy of his God (he was a devout Jew). It was in that time of blindness that he is recorded as hearing Jesus ask him, "Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

You see, Saul was serving the same God as the Christians...but he didn't know it. His God, Yahweh, was the same God who had planned from the beginning to send Jesus as a bridge for his people to get back to Him. He just didn't get the Jesus part yet.

I wonder if in those words he penned to the Corinthians, he felt a pang of guilt as a one-time persecutor of Christ and divider of the one true God. He thought he was doing the right thing by persecuting God's people. He wasn't, and luckily, God thought Him worthy enough to point out the error of his ways.

And I wonder how many of us can see and understand, if God deems us worthy enough to show us, the ways in which we have "divided Christ" in our own lives. Have we spoken against an ex-church? Or ex-church member? Or the methods of a certain denomination? Have we argued about unimportant things (especially having to do with buildings or rules instead of people)? Have we looked down on those who follow strict rules as a part of their faith? Have those with strict rules looked down on those who live in the law of freedom and moderation? I've done all of those things.

Do we forget Christ? Do we get so lost in our pitiful, limited, human ideas of who God is and who the true Church is, that we lose the story? Because it is a beautiful story. It is a story of separation and loss. A story of forgiveness and redemption. A story of love and sacrifice. A story of grace and beauty. When we divide Christ, we take away from that story--God's story.

To be united in thought and purpose is what will cause God's Church to rise up among the noise. Let me encourage you today, along with the words of Paul, whether church leader, church member, or churchless, to seek out Unity under the veil of Christ. Seek people who seek God, who seek peace and who seek unity with fellow believers.

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