As I get ready for yet another message in church on unity and community, I find myself struck with a question. There are loads of people that practice unity across the social spectrum. What’s so different about the church? Or maybe another way to look at it: does unity/community just come about naturally as we’re being nice and inclusive, or is it a thing that we practice?
I once had an image in my mind as I was an eager fiance preparing for marriage. Well, actually there were three images. The first was a husband and wife back-to-back, facing outward. This was a symbol of dysfunction, with each having little to no focus on one another. The second image, seemingly the antidote to the dysfunction, was a couple facing one another…each having their focus obviously on the other. This is all well and good, but my faith compelled me to visualize our marital relationship in a different way. It was a couple, hand-in-hand, facing forward together.
I’m not so sure that Christian community is simply avoiding harm to one another or even to be kind. If we are unified only for the sake of ourselves then we’ve missed it. True community is that we join arms with a common focus on someone bigger than ourselves, a focus on Christ.