Better Together

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You or someone close to you has likely participated in some team sport over the years. The first night that they step out under the lights together they may know very little about one another. They are strangers in polyester uniforms and baseball caps.

As the first game nears, there is a palpable feeling of possibility. The team is talented, and the coach is capable. Throughout the season, he positions and repositions the players in different roles, playing to their individual strengths. And if everything works right each player grows into their giftedness, and the synergy and success grows.

For many today rather than feeling like a single team with diversely gifted players, we find ourselves in a moment where it often feels like we’re on different teams altogether. This is true in society at large, and sadly, it seems in a limited sense to be finding its way into the church as well.

But there was a time when the church was like a brand-new ball team, stepping out onto fresh-cut grass in late summer, individual differences obscured by what they were as a whole: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit … All the believers were together and had everything in common” (Acts 2:4, 42, 44). God is so committed to this unity that Jesus prayed specifically for us, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you … so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).

Jesus was not naive. He knew that building unity is patient, slow, and sometimes immensely painful work. However, it is at the heart of what creates synergy and forward movement for the Church.

As the world around us builds moats we are called to construct bridges. Let’s listen to the builders of the early Church and to the voice of the Spirit which empowered them. These are troubling times, but there is kingdom work to be done.

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