One of the natural phenomenons that make me amazed is the rainbow. After the heavy rain this noon, I saw the rainbow and it gave me an idea to write something. Rainbow is a blend of colors that occur due to dispersion of light when the sun penetrates rain droplets in the air, thus making the light breaks down into the colors of the spectrum. I am thinking what if it’s a blend of rainbow colors separated each other. I do believe that the beauty of the rainbow will be much reduced. The series of color looks so beautiful when it appeared simultaneously in a unity. My mind drifted away to the Christian living and the church. There are many church denominations in this world, each of which has different ordinances that may influenced by their culture, they may have different doctrines, teaching methods, or they may have different vision and mission. I analogize the denominations as the colors in the rainbow and thinking how beautiful if those Christians who have different denomination could be united.
I am reminded of the Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane a few moments before he was arrested.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (John 17:20)
Then let’s see the next. When I ponder the next verses, there is an important message through Jesus’ prayer. What did Jesus ask to God? He did not ask God to always ensure that the believers live without suffering, always happy, never got sick or hurt both physically and mentally. But He pray,
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23)
I imagine how beautiful if the diversity of church denominations with their difference could be united. United not only in the form of a specific organization or community, but rather the spiritual unity which is based on life in Christ, to know and experience the Father’s love and the fellowship of Christ. Accept, believe and obedience to the truth of the God’s word (John 17:6-8) parting with the Worldliness (John 17:14-16); sanctification in truth (John 17:17-19), desire to bring salvation to the lost (John 17:21-23).
Sadly, I still found some cases there are several denominations underestimate each other. They argued that their church is the truest church and blessed by God. They are also assuming that their worship ordinance is the most appropriate with God’s will and word. Even worse, there is a presumption that their church is the most blessed church because they have a very large number of congregations. They are forgetting that the Lord Jesus comes not only in thousands of congregations, but with the slightest amount gather in prayer, the Lord Jesus comes among them. As written in Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
In His prayer, Jesus wants us to be united, just as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus in the Father, so are we the believers are in this unity with very obvious purpose. He wants the world knows and believe that Father in Heaven sent Him to redeem the sinner through the death on the Cross, and also the world knows that God loves the world as God loves Him. The problem is how the world can believe in Christ and accept Him as the only Savior who redeemed the sinner if we are the believers instead become a stumbling block to the unbeliever with our behavior which still suspicious of each other, judging, look down on one and another and assume that we are the truest than the other. The God’s truth will be seen from how we live our life, and by our attitudes and reaction in life. If we set a good example, then people will be able to see the truth of the God’s Kingdom.
It would be wonderful if all the churches with their congregations based not on differences but on similarities, that all are one in Christ and is part of the body of Christ. Where there is no self-interest or seeking a vain compliment, that there is only one common goal to glorify God, radiate God’s love and brings joy to everyone. As Paul advising the Philippians,
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:1-3)
Furthermore, there is no assumption that is the truest, the most important and the best. We are the one body, as Paul said in Corinthians, Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.(1Corinthians 12:12) and resumed again in the following verses, The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable (1 Corinthians 12:21-22) each of us as a part of the body of Christ has a gift respectively, which if combined would be able to be a tremendous power to show the greatness, the glory and the love of God. We should be more intact in the sameness, do not instead enlarge the discrepancy.
Rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with us. (Genesis 9:13) Rainbow is God’s promise that there will be no more floodwater. (Genesis 9:15). In other words, the rainbow is a sign that there is salvation offered by God to the mankind. How beautiful if we are all united like a beautiful rainbow which has different colors but come together to form beautiful strands in the sky and together we proclaim God’s salvation to those who have not been saved so that they will know and believe that there is a joy, peace, love and beautiful life in God. Let’s unite together, hand in hand appreciating each other, accept each difference, support each other, encourage each other, and help each other regardless of denominational backgrounds where we grow. So the world will see a beautiful rainbow of God who always spreading God’s love to everyone. Let us be one, as Christ is in of God, of God in Christ, where we are therein. Are we willing?
My dear friends, I will end this post with a poem that I have ever written to my beloved blog friend and sister in Christ, Sue Nash. Here it is:
WE ARE ONE
We are apart by thousand miles of distance; we are apart by tunnel of time. We are apart by seasons. We are apart by culture diversity.
We break barriers that divide us along lines of caste, class, gender, race, nation, denomination and age.
We are Community of Christ and we are walking the path together as the one body, called as brother and sister in Christ
We yearn to be united and feel connected by an unbreakable bond, to find a true home.
We also know that we are not alone in Christ
We walk and work together with all those who proclaim the values of Christ.
We are longs to blessed and be blessing, spreading God’s love, joyful and peace to others
We are one in our belief in the worth of every person and the value of every soul in God’s sight
We are called to be a servant of the Lord through the gifts that God given to us
We are one in knowing that we must do, and not only think.
We are one in generosity. We have many ways of giving.
We avoid debates for fear that in winning the argument we will lose each other
We learn to appreciate each other, encourage each other, and strengthen each other through our adversity
We are one, called to tell others about the gospel.
We sing Him. We pray Him. Live, seek, and think Him.
We lift on high the name: Christ Jesus. We testify of Christ Jesus.
We have faith in him. He makes us one.
We are one in Christ
So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5
Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
Thank you very much to Sister in Christ Nancy for the additional Bible verses.
Karina – Living by faith
Photo credit: hubertsanders.com