In our community we have had a wonderful experience of church unity of late with five of our churches coming together for a combined pulpit rotation and sermon series called “Better Together.” This led to combined Easter services that saw people from at least twelve churches giving over $58,000 towards the Habitat for Humanity “FaithBuild.” Add to that the physical work yet to come which will see church members rubbing shoulders with members from other churches and we get a picture of tremendous unity among Christians in Cobourg.
My family and I celebrate a year here this week and for me this has been a wonderful experience. Yet despite the celebration of unity, I still find that I am drawn to celebrate our disunity as well. For many the disunity of the Christian Church is a reason to run from it, but for me the disunity of the Church is actually a positive thing. Here are some reasons why:
- The disunity of the Church provides a wonderful variety. I thank the Lord that I do not have to lead the kinds of church services some of my colleagues lead. And they are grateful that they do not have to lead the kinds of church services I lead! Variety in style and expression is a good thing.
- The disunity of the Church is proof that we are not a cult. Cults need powerful leaders and when you take a look at the Church across the ages and across the world, we fail and always have failed to galvanize around any one leader. Except Jesus.
- The disunity of the Church is an indication that we enjoy the freedom of thought. Sceptics will often accuse Christian believers of “checking their brains at the door of the church.” However, study Christian history and you will find you are studying the history of much thinking. Rather than following blindly along, Christians have had a strong history of thought.
- The disunity of the Church is an indication of how lousy we are at organized religion. Along with many other Canadians I don’t like organized religion. This is one reason I am a Baptist, because among the denominations you can choose from we are one of the most disorganized! People are suspicious of organizations these days. The disunity of the Church is an indication that the Church is really not about the organization, but about people.
- The disunity of the Church makes it easy to find the important bits. Want to know what Christianity is really about? The easy way to do that is to look at what has been held in common. Too often people ask “what are the differences between the denominations and churches?” The important question is rather “what do Christians hold in common?” Ask that and the answer you come up with is not a set of doctrines, but a person: our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
When all is said and done, we will not be celebrating unity, we will be celebrating Jesus Christ. Pick any church that celebrates Jesus, then come celebrate!