I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
“Every one of us is all we need.” ~ The Beatles, Yellow Submarine
Jim and I had the privilege of taking our youth groups on three different mission trips. Each time, we returned home with treasured, lasting friendships between us all. These bonds were formed because everyone- with their varied personalities, quirks, temperaments, and preferences- had worked together to make good differences in other communities. We had worked together to serve God and one another. In doing so, we learned that each one of us had something to contribute, something we all needed. We valued one another in spite of our differences; even FOR our differences. Our one purpose of serving God by serving others was our unifying factor.
Our Lenten focus for today is unity. Paul calls his people in Ephesus to make “every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” These are wise words for us today, as we struggle to live in unity in this world, in our communities, in our churches and even in our homes. Our sinful, human nature can become selfish, self-focused, and self-righteous. We begin to see our differences as challenges rather than gifts. We lose sight of the unity and the togetherness we are called to share.
Today let’s make the effort, as Paul tells us, to live a life worthy of our calling as followers of Christ. This DOES take patience, humility, gentleness, and love. We will be challenged by different personalities, different ways of seeing the world, and different ways of being in the world. Unity isn’t meant to make everyone the same, but we can be united in our one purpose: to love and serve God by serving others in love.
I have a beautiful patchwork quilt that my friend Sarah made. Every piece is needed to add interest and color to the quilt. If I were to combine the patches, I would not consider putting some of these colors together as a color scheme. Yet, in this quilt they work well together! They make the quilt vivid and eye-catching. Each patchwork piece has been united with others for one purpose- to make a warm, soft, beautiful quilt.
Our reminder symbol today is a bottle of glue (or a quilt, if you have one). May it remind us that we are stronger together, and that each of us is needed for one purpose: to love and serve God by loving and serving one another.
A Prayer for Unity
Just as it was when Jesus made his home on earth,
The world can be a hateful and cruel place.
We ask that you would guide our actions as believers.
Give us an eagerness to be humble and gentle.
Help us have hearts of patience and forbearance.
Thank you for the hope we have in you;
May your hope unify our thoughts and decisions
And invoke peace through the Spirit.
~ Rachel Wojo, Dayspring,com