“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! For there the Lord bestows his blessing…”(Ps.133)
Our Lord Jesus prayed that the Church (His Bride…all who love Him, believe in Him, trust and rely on Him for their salvation) would be one, just as He and the Father are One. We believe that All those who love Jesus, believe in Jesus, trust and rely on Jesus for their salvation are therefore already one united in Christ, no matter what denominational baggage they carry.
Scripture speaks of “working to keep the unity of the Spirit”. We cannot work to achieve unity, for in truth all who are in Christ are already united through the same Spirit. We are one just as Jesus is one with the Father. We need not work to have uniformity in how we worship or hold meetings or break bread, but we need to work to keep the unity which Jesus prayed for and has given us through the indwelling Spirit.
The enemy (Satan) is the accuser of the brethren and for too long we Christians have sat in his camp remonstrating about the speck in our brothers eye not seeing the plank in our own.
Unity is not an add on to our Christian walk. ” 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (Jn 17. 20-26)
Unity and the Church are inseparable.
We are called to be men and women of the present, aware of the spiritual, historic, cultural and social realities around us and within the Body of Christ. Our vocation is to respond to these realities by way of our lives, by being filled with the Holy Spirit and by giving witness to the presence of the risen Lord, bearing love and joy to all with whom we come into contact. Just as in the early Church, they devoted “themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”. (Acts 2.42)
The breaking of bread is a perfect sign of our unity.
At the Eucharist/Communion table we are especially united with Christ and it is here that we are truly nourished. It is particularly important to remember the teaching of scripture in regard to this sacrament. (A sacrament being a visible sign, which brings God to man and man to God).
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement on himself”, ( 1Cor 11.26-29)
It is the Lord’s body and blood and it is His table we come to, not ours! (As it is His Church and not ours).
All who are in Christ (that is part of the Body/Church) may receive at this table as it is a sign of our unity in Christ. We are invited to come and eat and drink of the Lord who gives himself as our (real) food. We receive grace (or judgement if we take it without thought) from this supper of the Lamb of God.
Therefore, united with Christ in and by one Spirit we who are “in Christ” by faith, are of the household of God (The Church- The Bride of Christ) and therefore heirs and co-heirs with Him who is the head of the body.
“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; one God and Father of all, who is over all and in all”. (Eph 4.4-6)
There is but One Church! It is not Roman Catholic or Protestant, not Orthodox or Messianic. It is where the People of God love one another and live in the love and unity of the triune God. All who love one another as Jesus has loved us is where Church is lived. It is about relationship and not about form or formula. The institution is not Church, however holy, pious and great it might be.
Jesus said he would build His Church..and the gates of hell would not withstand it.
Our unity is in Him and in Him alone!
When they ask you, ‘What church do you belong to?”, may your answer always be, ‘I only know of one Church.. and I am part of it!”