Is Unity Possible?
Devotional Though of the Day:
32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Matthew 6:32-33 (CSBBible)
On account of my great sins [against the first table] I can’t get to the others in the second table.”
Accept me, O Lord, and dispose of me as Thou pleasest. I will never again complain, O my love, of Thy holy dispensations; I know that, as they all take their source in Thy loving heart, they all will be full of love, and for my good. It is enough for me to know that Thou willest them; I will them also in time and in eternity. Do all that Thou willest in me and with me; I unite my entire self to Thy will, which is all holy, all good, all beautiful, all perfect, all loving. O will of my God, how dear art thou to me! My will is ever to live and die united to and bound up with Thee.
Luther’s words in purple this morning scare me. They actually terrify me.
For those unaware, the 10 Commandments can be divided into 2 sections. The first group are those that deal with our love of God. Have no other Gods, don’t use God’s name the wrong way *but use it t call uoin Him) Spend time with God, finding rest with Him. Great stuff!
The second group are those that define how we should relate to others, Don’t kill, be faithful, don’t take there things, don’t damage their reputation with any kind of gossip or slander. Don’t be so jealous that yuo scheme to get what they want.
If the second group was followed, we wouldn’t see the division and the hatred spewed toward people today. Stop thinking only “they” do that – because you are adding to my terror.
Everyone wants peace, everyone is promising we will be unified, once we get rid of them, once they realize we are the ones who have it right. I have seen this in politics at every level in the last year. From school boards to the congress and presidency. I have seen it in church denominations, as catholics fight over a word from their liturgy, and my branch of Lutherans fight bitterly over worship practices. I have seen it in congregations, and in families.
And in the midst of it all, I hear people try to justify their division with a cry to be united.
What is the terrifying thing of this is what Luther holds out to be the hope for unity, the hope for loving relationships.
We have to stop sinning against God.
We have to seek His kingdom first, not our own. We have to pray that His will be done, not ours.
We have to realize He is our Lord, and relate to Him in that way.
There are days I think that concept is harder to understand in the church than out of it. Until we humble ourselves and walk with God, we will see people not as the assests they are, but as risks to our preffered way of life.
I read the prayer of de Ligouri, and an amazed at the words. I know that is how we should pray, it reflects the first few petitions of the Lord’s prayer, and prayers like Psalm 25. I want to pray this way, but I realize what it will cost to do so. And I realize that unless I begin to… how can I expect others too, and if none of us prays this way…. if none of us seeks first His ways….
then unity is a vain dream, and an empty hope.
Rather than face that, and sink into depression, I must trust in God, I must prioritize communion with Him. I know I treasure those times, so why not find ways for them to increase. I need to find ways to grow in my trust of Him, of His promises, of His work. The way to fulfill the first group of the commandments is simple. to live life in reaction to His love and mercy.
All of this will grow, as I think on His presence, on the body broken and blood shed for you and me.
My you find the unity you seek with others, and you are drawn into Chirst Jesus.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 53.
Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 150.