Happy Friday Everyone,
Last week I blogged about Unity and about how we are stronger together as the body of Christ. I want to follow up on that.
One of my favorite shows a few years ago was Everybody Loves Raymond. In one of the episodes, Ray’s daughter Allie quits taking piano lessons from Ray’s mom. So as usual in the show, they have a big fight about the whole thing. During the discussion, Ray’s mom blamed Ray for Allie quitting because when Ray was a kid, he quit taking piano lessons from his mom. Ray tried to keep telling his mom he loved the piano, but he quit because everyone was making fun of him. They go back and forth for a few seconds about quitting and who was to blame and then Ray emphatically says again, “I loved the piano.” Ray’s mom paused for a second and said, “Ray, you didn’t love the piano. You loved the idea of the piano.”
That line has impacted me for many years because it is so true. We love the idea of things, but we don’t actually love that thing. Think about New Year’s resolutions. How many of us say that this is the year we are going to get in shape. We are going to eat kale, work out everyday, drink protein shakes, eliminate cream from our coffee, and have great abs in 3 months. We love the idea of having great abs and being healthy, but the vast majority of us– including me– like cheeseburgers too much and, well, kale is right up there with pea soup as something I will not touch. We don’t do what it takes to love being in shape because love is a choice and an action.
I think the same thing applies when it comes to unity. We love the idea of unity. It sounds great, doesn’t it? We throw around phrases like being “united in Christ”, which is something we really should strive for because the gospel of Jesus Christ is what brings us together. But the practical reality of what it takes to make Christian unity actually happen is very hard.
A few weeks ago we did a Praise Crowd with the middle school and high school kids. Now, whenever we do these, some of my students say things like, “We don’t want to be with the 8th graders.” “They are going to take my seats.” “This is our thing”. I try to remind them that there is probably apprehension on the side of the middle school kids too. So for a few weeks, we hear all the reasons why not to do it. But we did it anyway. And I remember standing up in front of this group of over 300 kids thinking that there is only one thing that will bring a 6th grader and a senior together on a Friday night at 9:00 and that is Jesus. I have always loved preaching at Praise Crowds because it is such a great example of unity. On those nights, where you go to church doesn’t matter. Your age doesn’t matter. Your race doesn’t matter. What matters is worshipping Jesus. Yes, we have our struggles and we disagree about what songs to sing, topics to preach about, and whether to serve Chick fil A or pizza. The difference is, on a Praise Crowd night, these kids have made a decision to not let that stuff get in the way of being united around Jesus.
So my encouragement for today, tomorrow, and moving forward is to stop loving the idea of Unity and start loving Unity. Let’s do the hard work of finding ways both small and large to work together to share the saving love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ with our kids and this entire community. It is not easy, but it is worth fighting for. Look at what Jesus did for us so that we can be united with Him. Now it’s our turn.
Next week I will give some practical ways we can do this. I hope you enjoy your weekend.
– Lance Davids