Posts Tagged ‘unity’

Unity

Posted: July 10, 2020 in unity
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With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Ephesians 1:8-10

Sometimes it seems as if we could define world history as one person or one group hating another. The pogroms, colonization, slavery, wars — we have bashed and dominated each other from the beginning. The ancient Dorian invasion, Anglo-Saxon warfare, the brutal Assyrians. The Vikings. It’s endless. The empire building Romans. The life-crushing colonial, mercantile dominance of Spain and then England. Japan and China. India and Pakistan. The horror — every era has its brutalities. Our bloody kin-on-kin, American versus American civil war. The 20th century was the worst with two world wars.

These days it is no different in the United Un-United States. The enemy is defined as a group, the other political party, the right, the left, the immigrants, the Russians, the Chinese, the Muslims.

But hatred, unjust wars — wars of protection differ from those of domination — patriarchy, racism, oppression of the weak and the poor do not in anyway fit with the purpose of Christ. Remember he came for all of us, for the other religious groups — remember Jesus and the Samaritans — for the sinners, the poor, for the disenfranchised, for those who are Jewish, for those who are Gentile. John says, “he did not come into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.” Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors which he defined and modeled as including everyone.

Perhaps even we Christians are missing it. But he has “made known his will.” It may be a mystery as to who and perhaps even how but there is no mystery as to what. His will is unity. And His will is to be our will. Unity.

The fulfillment? When? Note Paul wrote about “times” of fulfillment, plural. Fulfillment began when Jesus came, and continued through all of history since then and continues now. God is on it. He is saving and unifying now. Are we? Love, the kingdom, this was never meant to be only future tense. There will be a completion to the process, a final fulfillment of unity, but the process began in Christ’s sacrifice for us that forgives and undoes disunity.

We need to get back to the purpose of Christ, especially we Christians. We need to work to unify the earth as much as we can. “On earth as it is in heaven,” remember. The Christ-taught prayer is that heaven’s look is to begin here.

We are to love and bring unifying love now. But we are not loving our neighbor when we condemn and vilify our neighbor. We are not loving our neighbor when we divide the world into racial groups and stigmatize and leave out people because of the color of their skin. We are not loving our neighbor when we entrenched in a political group and refused to work out a compromise with those who think differently, especially when we both want to do good but have different approaches to implement that good. We are not loving our neighbor nations when we don’t care about their welfare. We are not loving our neighbor when we do not care about their health, and we do not want everyone to have healthcare. We are not unifying all things in Christ when we abuse people or abuse the planet, when we trash the beautiful earth that God gave to all of us. We are not loving future generation that will live in the pollution we have created. We are certainly not loving when we do violence to each other. The Christian crusades? They were not the way of the turn-the-other-cheek, love-your-neighbor, go-into-all-the world-with-the-gospel Christ.

We might object and say Christ is a sword, even dividing families. Yes, divisions will occur over him, he said so, he knew so, in families, even in churches and among Christians, but that isn’t something we are called to initiate or facilitate. Blessed are the peacemakers.

And when divisions do happen we still are called to pray for and forgive others. We were told to love everyone, even our enemies; that’s what Jesus commanded us to do. When we don’t we miss the main purpose of Christ. His purpose, his goal, what he will do, is to unify. That’s what Paul taught in Ephesians 1. We don’t know how he will do that, we don’t know what or who will be left out or included in that — we know evil will not be included in that — but it is our job to join Christ in that, to work in Christ and his leading to “bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth.”

We might respond with “but they.” We can change that to “but Christ.” The scriptures show us that Christ is more inclusive than most of us. That’s certainly is the way he acted when he was here with us. We can think of so many reasons why some people are not one with us, and never will be, but no matter what anyone else is doing we are to make Christ’s goals of love and salvation and redemption and unity our goals too, the best we can.

This will be messy. Look around, live and take note, we live a kind of glorious mess. Most of us will blow it at some point or more and bring some disunity in our family, in our world. Even with those we love. Be honest. You too. Me too. Them too. Us too. Whole groups of people. There will be separations and divisions and harm that we can’t always or won’t always control or stop — and this can be heartbreaking — but we now know what the end will look like in Christ — oneness.

Richard Rohr writes, “I believe that as a spiritual practice we can imagine and create ‘a political system responsive to the people and respectful of global neighbors, a health system that is comprehensive in scope and not profit driven, an educational system shaped by innovation, improvisation, technology, and practicality.’”

“Can we be honest now about what is not working? Can we re-envision new options? I believe that we can, if we want to.” We can. We can work toward more unity and more love.

The bullseye of life — want to hit it? Don’t aim at me!

The bullseye is us! Shoot us!

“That they may all be one!” the wise one, Jesus, prayed, so there you go. He set up the goal of life, the ultimate movement and goal of history. The target is oneness!

My daughter called me this morning when I was still in bed. Her voice traveled out of the holes in the bottom of my mobile phone, hit the sheet, and bumped over my pillow to me: “How are you, dad?” — my ear said to me — from her.

What is precious in a life,  despite the fact that we have overused the word precious?

The small, microphone voice of my daughter in my ears is precious because it is her, her being connected to me, us there for each other, neither one alone.

The exact, perfect center point of all existence lies within us being together.

Exquisite — those not-doing moments, those being-moments — someone else’s existence allowed to come within ours. It has been said by a wise one, Paul “In him [God] we live and move and have our being.” Therefore, there really is no being alone! It’s impossible. Life is inside of another. All life moves within God!

My life isn’t me, or you. It’s us. Your life isn’t you, it’s us. Being is always plural. We go along together or not at all. If you could somehow get out of the divine presence and be alone, you wouldn’t exist.

I have long lived like the crux of my consciousness and my experience was me as an individual, my eyes, my actions, my choices, what makes me stand up and stand out. Silly! It was always all of us. Essential being is a pile of us. We were made to live like kittens drooped and draped and sprawled on each other sleeping and playing and eating together. Consciousness, being, life — it’s a pile of kittens; it’s a pile of presences.

I texted a friend yesterday and asked, “How are you doing?”

She texted back that she has been struggling with her sense of “worth on a deep emotional level.”

“Let’s call and talk on the phone tomorrow,” I said, “We can talk about our it.” So we arranged for the divine moment. And when we talked — bam — we came aware that we live in God for each other, two presences bonded in him with the glue of shared struggle, as it was always meant to be.

Being an individual is good. I love autonomy. My doing is good, but you’ll notice every doing hinges on being, and being requires beings, and good requires being present to each other. If I linger near you, and you listen to me, if I absorb bits of you, and you breath in what I feel, the mystery of our separated being crosses time and space and merges. It’s magic, the fusion. It’s supreme, matchless, nonpareil — when we apprehend the quintessential us and we!

It’s the “when two or more are gathered in my name I’m there.” Two creates a magnetic, drawing spiritual gathering, and three can conjure a whole community of oneness. This is the virtuosic movement of history that was always meant to be — a unified us.

Last night in the same room with my wife, I was writing, she was reading, breathing the same air. It was perfect being!

I “liked” a friend’s picture yesterday on Facebook. A “like” is a validation of existence. The social scientists say social media may raise our anxiety levels, looking for likes, addiction to likes, superficial social media likes, jarring hits of pseudo affirmation, or not, but this popular activity tells us a bit about who we are. We are ones with the need to be liked, to be known, loved, to have another person validate our being, to connect. That why 2 billion people use Facebook.

We always have and always will need each other’s validation of being in some form in order to be more aware that we are a presence.

I stopped on my walk last night to talk to a neighbor. This is better than Facebook. We did some lingering, listening, absorbing, merging. He talked about losing his wife last year, a tragic accident, how he has struggled to go on. We hugged three times before we left each other — and I wouldn’t say that before this we were close — but standing on his driveway in the dark we bonded over shared pain.

A moment together, a call, a text, a like, a love, a hand up to greet, a hand on a shoulder, a hand out to help — that is being. You and I can do nothing better with the time and space we have on this huge, distance-making planet than to be safely and warmly present to each other.

Recently, I avoided bringing up politics with a friend.

Recently, I didn’t insert my opinion into an animated discussion taking place in front of me about religion.

Recently, I forgave a person who rejected me, intentionally and put aside in my mind the things they did to harm me.

I performed these mental disciplines for one reason — for the sake of unity.

Unity is oneness of mind and feeling among persons. It is concord, getting along, working together, having harmony, being in agreement.

I didn’t, in my recent efforts to create unity, deny or ignore the differences I have with others. I know what the differences are, and I have spoken and written about them in the past, but in these cases I choose unifying behaviors in the face of disunifying factors.

Often unity is choosing concord and team work and harmony, even when this doesn’t entirely exist. Unity is something we choose in the face of difference, tension and conflict. To chose to be united does not mean that we deny our conflicts, no, simply that we honor our relationships more than our differences at singularly significant junctures.

Of course this isn’t universal. There are some relationships that will not be repaired, some discussions during which we will not choose to overlook our differences, some points of view we will give not quarter to, some people we simply will not agree with, be in concert with, team up with, be married to or resolve conflict with — ever. But that aside, unity is still a huge core value for humanity.

Unity is a passion that puts aside a good to achieve a greater good.

Jesus’s passion for unity healed the bridge between Jew and Greek.

Abraham Lincoln’s passion for a United States of America saved the nation during its horrible civil war.

Unity, on a German soccer team, won the World Cup in 2014.

Great leaders and great teams have always trafficked in a profound sense of unity.

I have friends who are very conservative. I have friends who are extremely liberal. They are all friends, by my choice. I choose to be with people I don’t share basic points of view in common with. I share something greater than that with them. I share mutual respect, friendship, an honoring of differences, a common pursuit of the love of love and the love of God.

Through a passion for unity my friends and I amalgamate, consolidate, cooperate and affiliate around what we have in common. Through our eagerness for oneness we diminish, put aside, nullify and forget the things that divide us. Our humility — which springs from our awareness of our own ignorance and incompleteness without each other — this is a kind of divine miscibility. Through it, we mix.

Religion has a long history of division, conflict and war. Religious people have tended to be the most judgmental people on earth. It should not and need not be so. The truly spiritual were meant to be, even commanded to be bridge builders, gate openers, way-makers, love-makers, peace-makers and unity mongers.

“Blessed are the peace makers,” said Jesus, “for they are the children of God.”

Check out some of my modern proverbs, aphorism and epigrams about unity on my blog at http://www.modernproverbs.net