Saturday, unity in the church
Psalm 133:1-2 – “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, running down upon the collar of his robes.”
A friend was sharing this scripture with a student from Saudia Arabia. The student became excited, jumped up and ran out of the room. He returned with a tiny vial, about ½ ounce, of oud oil. He said, “This is the oil it is referring to. We have it in my country. It is very expensive oil. This vial costs $500.” That is expensive oil. That is precious oil. How much would it take to run off the head, down the beard and onto the collar of a robe? How much money would that much oil cost?
My friend’s experience showed me the real value of brothers living in unity and how much God values our living together in unity.
As we were driving by our church, our student from China was sounding out the name of the church. Then she asked to explain the differences was between the different denominations. My standard reply is, “It is easier if I tell you what we have in common.” I proceeded to share the story from Creation to Christ, a gospel presentation that starts with Creation and ends with the Ascension. I shared that we ALL believe that God created the world and created man. We ALL believe that man disobeyed God and was banned from the Garden and the Tree of Life. We ALL believe that God gave us laws that are impossible to obey. So, we ALL believe that a sacrifice was necessary. We ALL believe that God allowed the Hebrews to sacrifice a perfect lamb for the forgiveness of sin, but it was only temporary. We ALL believe that prophets predicted the coming of one who would be the Savior of the world. We ALL believe that Jesus was born of a virgin in Bethlehem as the prophets foretold. We ALL believe that Jesus worked miracles including the casting out of demons, walking on water, healing the sick and raising the dead. We ALL believe Jesus was crucified as the perfect lamb for our sins. We ALL believe Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. We ALL believe Jesus ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God. We ALL believe He is coming back.
WOW – we have a lot in common. Our basic foundational beliefs bind us as the church. Maybe, just maybe, we could unite around our commonly held beliefs and reach out to a lost and hurting world and share this good news! Our student was silent for some time after hearing the story. She finally said, “I am in shock. I have never heard anything like this. People in China do not know these things.” Let’s unite and share “these things” with people who have never heard.
Father, we can only imagine how the scent of that rich oil would fill a room as it would be poured over a head. As we might smell rich scents in the coming weeks, may we be reminded of the high value you place on unity. Remind us that being right is not as important to you as being in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. As we join with others across denominational lines, empower us to share the amazing news of Jesus with the people in our city who have never heard these things before.