I am turning over a new leaf, or trying to anyhow. It all started with a very late Skype call sunday night, which left me thinking, I have either got to become a morning person and have these talks in the morning, or I have got to be better on functioning with less sleep.
So in my exhaustion last night, I thought, hey lets try the first. I went to bed at 9:30. I was ready at 8:30 which admittedly is a little early, but I did have to debrief interns so that helped keep me awake. So what happens when you go to bed at 9:30? First, you wake up at 4 thinking wow, that was a great nights sleep, but you notice, it is really dark and force yourself to stay in bed. Then again at 5:30, and it seems pointless to even try to go back to sleep, but it is freezing in Africa so you get your bible, a book and a journal crawl back under the covers and think, there's nothing I can do in this moment, so lets read!
So I read, and amazingly, probably for the first time ever, my brain clicked on before 10am. I know, that is a shocker for many of you, especially those of you who go to work at 6:30 am, but I have always been a night person. In college, the best, most productive, most remembered studying was after 10PM and no sooner than 8pm. I did better in night classes, except the running class I took one semester at 6:30am...wow that was crazy. Anyhow, my brain has started thinking and it is odd, because it is 7:15 and I already have so much to say. Maybe being a morning person isn't so bad, and maybe it really is possible for this long self-acclaimed night owl.
Apparently I babble and ramble in the morning too. This post was supposed to be about unity, not my random happenings this morning, but those led up to the thoughts on unity.
I was reading in Ephesians. It has been my book lately. And it has been showing me quite a bit of really cool stuff. This morning though, as I read from beginning again, I had a different idea come to mind. What if the whole thing is about how the Church needs to be unified. This is where I delve into dangerous waters, at the risk of offending some, but I really feel like it needs to be said.
What if, Christ's church was unified? What if, we all, (in we all, I am thinking the we's being different denominations) looked at Chapter 1 and remembered the blessing we have in walking with Him, and remembered that it is because of Him that we have been made new and because of Him that we have life and remembered that in Him we were chosen and remembered to be thankful. What if we remembered it was His church and not ours. Ouch.
What if we, all of us denominations, remembered that we were all dead in our transgressions as it says in chapter 2. What if we remembered that we all used to follow the ways of the world and because of God's great love for us we were saved by grace through faith, as a gift from him, not by anything we have done. What if we remembered how he viewed us, as a workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, and sought out the work he has prepared in advance for us to do?
What if we remembered that previously, before Christ, we were separated too. What if we remembered that we were once far off but now we are near because of the blood of Christ?
What if we remembered that we are no longer foreigners, but are citizens and members of God's household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. What if we remembered who God is, and who we are.
What if we were an answer to Paul's prayer in Chapter 3. What if we were strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and the love of Christ dwelled in our hearts through our faith and if we, being rooted and established in that love had the power to grasp how wide, how long, high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge (we'll come back to that) that we would be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God?
Half way point summary:
What if we remembered who we were, who God is, and took in our hearts the faith and the Love that made all of these possible. What if we didn't cast knowledge aside, but put more emphasis on loving and the Love that is found within us?
Would we reach chapter 4? Could we be unified and live a life worthy of the calling set before us? What if we were humble, and gentle, patient, and bearing withone another in love? What if we made EVERY EFFORT to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. And then the verse that started this all, "There is one body, one Spirit...one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." (Ch 4:4)
Chapter 4 talks about living as the children of light and how to live in the Light. And I am thinking, what if all of these ideas, and thoughts and wars that brought about all of these segments of the church and denominations were really a scheme of the enemy to cause confusion, dis-unity, and quarreling among us. Becuase, when there is confusion, disunity and quarreling, to be honest folks it is hard to live as light, it is hard to let that light shine bright like the lights of a city on a hill. It is hard to attract people to the church as well.
It is hard to live out Love. (enter Chapter 5). The reminder, since we have already remembered who we are and who God is, and that he wants us to be unified. He says this, "Be imitators of God, as dearly loved Children." He then paints a picture of the church using a description of the marriage relationship. Of Christ being the head and his bride being in submission to him. And reminds us yet again of how Christ loved us.
And I must say, I wonder, what would happen if we lived out Love instead of living out what we (all us denominations) thought to be right. What if we, were more concerned about loving each other in our differences instead of condemning each other our differences. What if we were unified and even though we had slightly different doctrine, made every effort to life as children of the light. What would that be like?
I think it would be a threat. I think that is why Paul ends with Chapter 6. Put on the armor of God. Because really, I think (because I really can only say that everything written so far, are just my thoughts, and it is 7 in the morning so I do plead for mercy) but I think if we lived in Unity as a Church, walking in the light as dearly loved children and maybe laid down our differences, We would be an army that the enemy would want to compete with, and we would win, because when we put on our armor, nothing could penetrate us, and people, because it really is about God and His people, people would be drawn to join this army, people would want to know what it is like to walk in such unity, people would want to live as children dearly loved by God.
Wow. That is a mouthful. That is what I am thinking this morning. This morning person stuff is dangerous.