"Unity among the churches"
That certainly sounds like a right, proper and good goal. But hearing it phrased that way really made me ponder.
I've been praying about and desiring to pursue "the unity of the Body of Christ." That is something quite different from "unity among the churches." I am envisioning a unity that transcends our local congregational affiliations. See, I don't really care to see a unification effort that keeps tabs on which churches and which denominations are represented and which ones are not. I want to see a unity among individual believers that goes beyond our church walls and definitions. I would like to see us come together without even thinking about who goes to which church!
This is not to say that a unity effort would, should or even could supersede, replace or take precedence over local congregations. I am not advocating an overthrow or disposal of local denominational representation. I think there will probably always be various reasons for "local churches" to exist - e.g., doctrine, culture, personality, "liturgical preferences," etc etc etc.
However, I will also hasten to state unequivocally that I believe IDEALLY the Body of Christ in any given location ought to be aware of who else in their local area are followers of Jesus. I believe strongly that there ought to be frequent PUBLIC DISPLAYS of UNITY among a local area's followers of Jesus.
Jesus said, "By this shall the whole world know that you are my disciples; if you have love one for another." (John 13:35) He was not just talking about having love for (and showing love to) our own preferred set of believers.
The unity of the Body of Christ is paramount. The most profound effect on our communities will come when the world can see that we love each other. Right now most communities see multiple small groups of exclusive practitioners of religion ("churchgoers") meeting for a few minutes (OK, an hour or two, but in the context of a whole week of living, it may as well be just a few minutes) once or maybe twice a week.
Wow. There is just so much to say, to think about, to pray about, to act upon regarding the subject of the unity of the Body of Christ.
Let me repeat the key verse upon which this blog is based, Ephesians 4:13:
"...until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
The fullness of Christ is what I long for. How 'bout you?