Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Greater unity, greater force for change?
Christians have worshipped here for more than 900 years. The building of the tower began later, in 1521, when the German and Swiss theologians Luther and Zwingli were beginning the ‘protest’ that became the Reformation. On Sunday, as Christians from all the major streams gathered, this venue was a centre for unity.
Galatians 5:24 (The Truth N.T.)
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed to the cross their passions and desires that contradict the Spirit!
I WAS THINKING about the crowd on Sunday – and the power of the crowd. One one level, it was a fun gathering, a fun occasion. On another level, it was a powerful gathering, full of potential for creating beneficial change.
Let’s think about the extent of the agreement that was represented in that large crowd of people from different church contexts.
In a typical single-congregation church scenario, unity is needed for decisions (change the seats, refurbish the hall) and, up the spiritual plane a bit, for prayer petitions (salvations in the community, raising finance, a mission project proving fruitful). This is not generally too demanding, from people who have largely the same beliefs, the same values and same vision.
However, every agreement has a personal cost, whatever way that agreement is reached. It costs us the gap between the bit we don’t agree with at first, and our shift to make an accommodation and thereby find consensus.
Standing in that large crowd on Sunday, I felt a real sense of connection and agreement with what was going on – but the content and delivery might not have been entirely to my liking. Actually I liked the songs and the tone and the message and I thought the welcome was OK as well (well, I had a small part in that!). The length was about right for me and I like being in a crowd of worshippers.
One of my friends finds crowds difficult – and that is a cost. Others on that occasion would have come from congregations where worship would be fairly traditional, with hymns led by an organ or piano, and prayers read from a book with a sense of engagement with a familiar liturgy – another cost. And if you feel secure when there is a priest presiding, what accommodation would you have to make with un-priest-like and informally dressed people popping up to lead different bits? At the other end of the scale, some of us like the prophetic, and personal prayer, and a bit of unpredictability – none offered, for good reasons.
We please our Father when we intentionally turn from what we hold precious, put to death our self-life and try to find His kingdom order over and above our own sense of order. So that’s a definition of the costs and the accommodation.
Is a costly unity more valuable and more spiritually powerful than one which doesn’t take much of a shift? Does the greater sacrifice amount to ‘added value’? I believe there might be something in this – but this is just an opinion at this point and I might be wrong. I need further revelation from Word and Spirit to take that further.
A few thousand people coming together like this is still a powerful force for beneficial change.
In our unbelieving world, powerful spiritual force is exactly what we need more of, to see the salvations that the Lord wants.