Interwoven: The One God

Years ago, I served as a Recreation Director at a Christian camp in Indiana. How I stumbled into that position, I'll never know. Traditionally, on the first day of camp, the kids were assigned to tribes/teams and tackle their first team activity: the scavenger hunt. I put a new twist on the old favorite by tying the teams together to build their communication and team-building. It didn't go over too well at first. As they figured out how to walk together, they stepped on toes, tripped, and griped. Eventually, the started working together and began to enjoy their new sense of identity as a team.

Unity is hard to come by. Uniformity is easy -- just apply some force or coercion. But unity requires love's work.

The unity of the Trinity is a model for us. When we look at God we see:

1] Love comes from God & so does unity. Unity isn't a man-made invention any more than love is. Since love comes from God, it is God who gets to define what love is. In the same way, he teaches us what unity looks like as we observe Father, Son, & Holy Spirit bound together in love and working together to bring us back to God's community. We spend a lot of time trying to hammer out uniformity; God's love brings us into unity.

2] We can enjoy the unity of God in the unity of the Church. The Father, Son, & Holy Spirit -- three Persons, yet One. In the same way, we are many but one. Our individualism can cause us to forget about the communion of the saints, the unity of the Church, the one baptism, and the Body of Christ. The same Spirit that unifies God, unifies us.

3] Love is what holds it all together. Colossians 3:14 says, "Above all these virtues, put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity." Only in love -- God's love -- are unity and diversity not in conflict. Unity is possible in great diversity when there is great love. Unity is possible when we love each other more than we love our ideology, causes, opinions, or self.

I get a kick out of unity wherever I see it. When I taught high school in Colorado, the first day of class usually had my students self-organized in categories of red vs blue and Latino vs black vs white. The lines were clearly drawn. But just four weeks later, every group I taught would be seated in a circle sharing what they appreciated about each other, many crying healing tears. If it's possible there, can it be possible in the church? I hope so.

Unity is possible, and God shows us the way. He is One -- the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. We are tied together in the same Spirit, and love is what holds it all together.

[John 17:20-23]