Church unity… a miracle?

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Acts 4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 

V.32 particularly gets my attention this morning. First, it says the believers were “of one heart and soul”. Earlier chapters indicate there were already at least 5,000 converts to the faith, so this isn’t a handful of people we’re talking about. Yet they were unified in powerful ways.

For some reason I’m having a hard time grasping this, mostly because real unity is so rare in my experience of the church. I’m not talking about in one particular congregation, but in the church as a whole. Christians can be very creative about finding ways to disagree with one another. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

That said, there’s nothing that unifies a people more than opposition, which was the context of the early church. When pressed from outside, we will find a way to come together. Remember what it was like in the days and weeks after 9/11? Americans came together in ways I’ve not seen before or since. Considering how divided we are as a nation today, particularly as it relates to the political arena, 9/11 unity seems like ancient history.

But the truth is that the early Christians didn’t come together because they were such exceptional people. Unity was then, and is now, a gift of God. And considering that all things are possible through Christ, my cynical/jaded heart has hope that unity can be restored. Even in the church. Lord let it be so…

 

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