7=1

 

Stop, drop, and make a list. Make a list of every matter over which you know Christians and churches have separated fellowship over. You have sixty seconds.

Go!

I know. You need more time. More like sixty minutes, right? And with some research, you could actually, all too easily, occupy yourself for sixty hours.

Seriously. Sadly.

So, dare to imagine something radically different. Dare to dream something ancient and wonderful. Dare to go where God’s Spirit would take you.

Imagine all Christians everywhere agreeing and uniting on nothing but what the Holy Spirit of God has explicitly defined in Scripture – through the words of the apostle Paul, no less – as the unity we Christians experience, enjoy, and are to maintain.

That’s it. Read that sentence again.

Do you know where you could find such a summation of unity? Can you turn to the text that succinctly describes that which should occupy our maintenance efforts as Christians? If you know where the text is found, could you name those specific matters … because you’re so all about them already … without peeking first? Is this text one of those that is so very dear to you that you have it memorized, virtually upside down and backwards?

You should! Ephesians 4.4-6 is the text and the itemized list consists of a seven matters. That’s right: seven. Not seven thousand, seven hundred, or even seventy. Seven.

Now, again: can you name the seven? Imagine all Christians everywhere, all who seek to live after Christ, declaring and emphasizing, living and serving, with only the following squarely in view through the front windshield.

One body. One Spirit. One hope. One Lord. One faith. One baptism. One God and Father of all.

Or, precisely as the Spirit who is holy put it to us:

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4.4-6 NRSV)

Now imagine every Christian with such a united vision and laser-like focus on these seven matters that they could come to see the utter and complete simplicity of Christian faith: that the only thing that matters is united faith expressing itself through love on the basis of such (cf. Gal. 5.6). Imagine what could be if Christians everywhere lovingly left everything else to individual conscience. Imagine throwing off everything that has split and divided, fractured and finished off Christians through the ages and hanging onto these few, crucial things that matter.

Can you see the walls coming down? Not only the walls that separate those who believe, but the walls that block out those who would come to believe?

Can you imagine the potency of such a strong witness to Christ and his power? Can you imagine how many would come to proclaim: “Surely God is among you!”? Imagine! What a wonderful Christian world this would be!

Now just do this one thing. Don’t leave it to your imagination. Get after it!

I assure you, should you come to this way of thinking and living a life of faith with love, you will not be alone.

And who knows just what God might do with such a united people?

I hope someday you’ll join us and the world can live as one in Christ.