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Please note the following is an excerpt from "Jesus' Prayer from A to Z", of which I'm Editor.
- G - Getting There: Unity Will Come, But..., by Garret, Leroy
I shall always remember my first and only visit to Westminster Abbey in London... On one of the columns near the rear of the chapel was a sign that read Prayers for Christian Unity in this Chapel Each Tuesday at 3:00 P.M.
Anglicans praying for the unity of God's church! There was nothing incongruous about it especially, although for some time in my life I supposed that God did not hear the prayers of Anglicans... nor of Presbyterians or Baptists for that matter. I was impressed that people in any church would go to the trouble to... pray for the unity of Christians.
I was aware that I had never seen nor heard any such announcement among my own people... Moreover, I never, or almost never, hear our people in assembly praying for the unity of Christians. One may conclude that (our) folk do not treat the scandal of a divided church with a sense of urgency...
I would like to sit with our sisters and brothers... along with all other Christians who would like to pray for the unity of God's people on earth. No debating this time, not even any sermons or discussion. The prayers might be intermingled with songs of praise. We would come quietly and leave quietly. We would pray, just pray. This would of course include penitential and confessional prayers for our sins... for either creating or tolerating a divided church.
I say all this to say... the unity of the Church of Christ on earth will one day be a fact. Unity will come, but... We must believe that its coming can be hastened by our fervent prayers and dedicated effort.
My main reason for believing that unity will come is because our Lord prayed for it. Have you read the prayer in Phillips' translation?
"I am not praying only for these men but for all those who will believe in me through their message, that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, live in me and I live in you, I am asking that they may live in us, that the world may believe that you did send me."
We must agree with Peter Ainslee (who) said: "The winning of this world to Christ is a big task... the biggest ever undertaken... It cannot be done by a divided church. There is no more idle talk than to talk of the divided church winning the world."
Unity! So that the world will believe. That is the way Jesus put it. When he commissioned his apostles to bear the message to all creatures, he could not have possibly supposed that they could do it divided. Give consideration to the following seven practical suggestions:
1 - Pray unity. Everyday we should join our Lord in praying for the unity of all believers. This will hone our hearts and minds to fulfill that prayer in our own lives each day.
2 - Think and talk unity. All who love Jesus and seek to emulate his character have a great deal in common... Don't think of a neighbor as a Baptist or a Roman Catholic... If you stress the things that divide, you will not hasten the answer to Jesus' prayer.
3 - Think catholic. (Emphasize) those universal truths that by their very nature unite, such as the grace of God.
4 - Realize you don't have to be judge... This is the great truth... on your side... but little utilized. Memorize Romans 14:4 - "Who are you to judge another man's servant. It is before his own master that he stands or falls." I am to love and accept you, even when you are wrong, and leave the judging to the Lord. This will do more for the unity of the church than can be imagined.
5 - Grow... a conscience on the unity of the church. Look for ways in which you can be a "unity movement" in your own life... remember... it is "love that binds everything together in perfect harmony." (Colossians 3:14)
6 - Think of the church as one, for it really is. ...it is the very nature of the church to be one... That is the meaning of... Thomas Campbell's quotation: "The Church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one." ...we must do all we can to rid the church of the blight of partyism.
7 - Be bigminded. We must be too large-souled to allow trifles to keep us separated from each other... Let's be like Jesus and be magnanimous rather than like the Pharisees who had to be right about everything... "Let your moderation (gentleness) be known to all men." (Philippians 4:5)
Remember we are not divided over doctrines and practices as much as over attitudes. Partyism is a disease of the heart.
(This article is abridged from Restoration Review: Vol. 23, No. 8; October 1981)
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, so infuse your Spirit in ours, your thoughts in ours, your heart of love in ours, that we may become more and more like Christ, until we are so much one with you, others will take note that we, too, have been with Jesus. In His name we pray.
Garrett, Dr. Leroy - Corinth, TX - Retired Professor and Church Historian. Earned degrees from Abilene Christian, Princeton (M.Th.), Harvard (Ph.D). Author of The Stone-Campbell Movement. Editor of Restoration Review (40 years), and Once More With Love newsletter. For a treasure trove of back issues, go to: www.leroygarrett.org He and his wife Ouida have two children and one grandchild.
Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation
Christ the head and cornerstone,
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the Church in one.
Lord, what would You have me to do?
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Believers in Gabon, The Gambia, Gaza, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibralter, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, GuyanaThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Tom (Jn.17:21) M.,
Fellowship of John 17:21
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