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Exhortations to Unity

A high school orchestra was preparing for a concert that featured a pianist in a rendition of Grieg's Aminor concerto. Before the performance, it was customary for the orchestra to tune up with an "A" sounded by the oboe player. But the oboist was a practical joker, and he had tuned his instrument a half step higher than the piano.

You can imagine the effect!

After the pianist played a beautiful introduction, the members of the orchestra joined in. What confusion! Every instrument was out of tune with the piano.

In Paul's letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle mentioned two members who were "out of tune." In an otherwise peaceful and growing assembly of believers, Euodias and Syntyche were spiritually "off key." This prompted Paul to write, "I implore Euodias and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord" (Phil. 4:2). He wanted them to know that unity among the Christians was important to the ongoing work of that church.

Exhortations to Unity

It is estimated that if all of the American colonies would have been more unified at the time of the American Revolution, we could have won the war for independence in 1 year. Instead, because of division, it took 8 bloody years of battle.

Exhortations to Unity— Join Hands!

A beautiful little girl wandered out one cold day into the countryside of Canada. The family finally realized she was lost and started a search. Then they called the people of the community together. Each went his own way. It became dark and the cold of the Canadian winter settled down. After some time someone suggested the searchers join hands and cover the grass fields. But it was too late. They found the girl curled up, frozen in the cold. Then the shout went up, "If only we had joined hands before!" The spiritual meaning of this story is clear. Christ's love demands unity among His believers.

Exhortations to Unity—On Being Unified

Swimmy is the only black fish in a large school of tiny red fish who live happily in a corner of the sea. One day a huge hungry fish appears and swallows all the little red fish in one gulp.

Only Swimmy escapes. He swims all alone through the deep sea, until... hidden in the dark shade of rocks and weeds, he saw a school of little fish, just like his own.

"Let's go and swim and play and SEE things!" he said happily.

"We can't," said the little red fish. "The big fish will eat us all."

"But you can't just lie there," said Swimmy. "We must THINK of something." Swimmy thought and thought. Then suddenly he said, "I have it! We are going to swim all together like the biggest fish in the sea!"

He taught them to swim close together; each in his own place, and when they had learned to swim like one giant fish, he said, "I'll be the eye."

And so they swam in the cool morning water and in the midday sun and chased the big fish away. (Swimmy by Leo Lionni.)

Unity in Christ

Shortly after the close of the Civil War, in a fashionable Richmond church, members of the congregation were invited to come to the altar rail to receive Holy Communion.

After several rows of worshipers came and left having received Communion side by side, a Black man walked down the aisle toward the altar.

A tense silence gripped everyone. No one got up to come down to receive the bread and wine, although many had not yet received Communion. The Black man started to kneel alone. Quietly, a tall, graying man with a military bearing stood up and strode down the aisle to the Black man's side. Together, they knelt.

Before the officiating clergyman could continue, people recognized that the person kneeling beside the Black man without showing any distinction was General Robert E. Lee.

Although Lee said nothing, everyone realized he had shown his faith through his act of joining that lonely Black worshiper at the altar.

Lee's example is an example for all. We must not be content with any system that divides us as fellow-Christians. We must seek to demonstrate our essential unity. Only then can we say truly: "We are one in Christ."