“How wonderful, how beautiful,
when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil
flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon
flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,
ordains eternal life.”
— Psalm 133 (Msg)
Oh what joy to the Heavenly Father it is when all his people – of all different ages, cultures and creeds – come together simply in the name of Jesus.
The Father wishes us to celebrate our diversity within our unity; it’s not about uniformity, but tolerant, open-hearted unity. When we can do that – when we can be passionately awake to what God is doing in the world – when we know that God desires to impact the world through us – we see that diversity is one the most beautiful things we will ever accomplish in his name.
When brothers and sisters – though they disagree – can get along, God commands a blessing. There is an outpouring of God’s favour!
When we can ask, “How might our town, city or suburb bring glory to God in 20 or 30 years time?” we are asking a Kingdom question. Are we building a resting place for the Lord to inhabit? (Isaiah 66:1-2) Such a place is where his children are gathered unto Jesus so they may hear from his Spirit.
Too often, however, the church is hindered, demoralised and, ultimately, it’s demobilised from its mission; to impact its local town, city or suburb; to play a role in building the community for sustainability, bearing much fruit. This is Jesus’ ‘John 17’ church.
Tom Shelton said, “Only a healed, unified church is able to heal a broken, divided community.” Such is the mandate God has given us – our mission. Are we a healed church? Are we, as pastors, leaders, congregants, as healthy as we can be for the building of God’s Kingdom? If we are, we will build the Kingdom not in vain.
Building networks where pastors and church leaders from all denominations, cultures and backgrounds will serve Christ’s mission is a mandate. We can go further and bless our community by becoming actively collaborative. We are charged to be Jesus to those yet-to-believe. We do this best when we get along as the wider, broader church.
It’s not about the strength of the darkness; it’s about the quality of the light.
The Father wants to be near and with his children, but the Father cannot abide in petty squabbling. The only competition is the devil himself. None of our churches and none of us pastors are in a competition against other Christians or Christian organisations. We need to be clear on this; we need to speak this; and, we also need to call these dynamics into the lives of Christian leaders everywhere.
The Father’s heart,
For his children to get along,
Is something urgent to start,
So we may simply sing his song.
Division and disunity,
These concepts disrupt,
The concept of community,
And forever they’ll corrupt.
But if we can resolve our resentment,
And acknowledge the devil’s heist,
All will find contentment,
Because all will serve our Christ!
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement to Pastor Tom White, who preached the message “You are God’s Royal Priesthood – Yes You!” at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Perth, Western Australia, on 31 August 2014.