Feruary 5, 2017


Such a simple concept, unity—many as one.
The motto of the United States of America is E pluribus unum-“ meaning “out of many, one.” Musicians have adapted a French word, ensemble, meaning, “together” or “all at once” to express the idea of many voices or instruments achieving an artistic unity of expression. Not a difficult idea to grasp, but a challenging reality to achieve. Most of the time in musical or theatrical rehearsals is spent trying to become an ensemble—many functioning as one.

It is important to remember that Jesus prayed for our unity.
His prayer is recorded in John chapter seventeen. After His detailed teaching about the events crowding close upon Him—the week of His passion—and the more distant event of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would begin His New Covenant ministry in the hearts of those who would follow Him, Jesus prayed for our unity.

Yes, our unity. He prayed for the Apostles and for all who would come to know Him through their witness. So Jesus prayed for us!

And what did He ask for us? That we would be one—an ensemble of the spirit—singing one story in many languages until everyone has heard the tune.

Paul used another analogy, the human body.
It is made of many parts—and He didn’t know about the cell level of the human body!—but is really a unity, a unity with diversity. The human body had many members all functioning uniquely together as a single individual. There was to be no envy of one member for the position of another because all were equally vital to our health.

We live in a world beset by division. Markets depend on identifying separate groups and feeding the wants and needs of those people. If we are on the verge of being conquered, it is because we are being so thoroughly divided.

The Kingdom of God requires unity, unity with diversity.
Each of us is an individual with a path of life that God has promised to show us. We each have good works laid out for us to do in this world. But we are intended to operate from a common base, a community of faith wherein all our work adds up to the work of God in the world.

There is an anointing in unity that is destroyed by division. The Psalmist speaks of the anointing oil flowing on each one until we are all one.

This is necessary. It is the answer to the prayer of Jesus.

And it is, indeed, good and pleasant.

Psalm 133
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!  It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing — Life forevermore.
Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NIV
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
John 17:20-22 NIV
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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.

(BCP) (adapted)
O God our light and salvation, who makes all free to worship you: May we ever strive to be faithful to your call, following the example of those faithful ones who have gone before us that we may faithfully set our hands to the Gospel plow, confident in the truth proclaimed by your Son Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

We are One in The Spirit

Words and Music: Peter Scholtes

We are One in The Spirit, We are One in The Lord.
We are One in The Spirit, We are One in The Lord.
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, By our Love,
Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will walk with each other, We will walk hand in hand.
We will walk with each other, We will walk hand in hand.
And together we’ll spread the News that God is in our land.
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, By our Love,
Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved