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It’s time for Christians to come together, embrace call of unity

September 17, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Unity.

To many, it’s an overused, overrated word that conjures of visions of hippies calling for world peace.

For others, a cry for unity is synonymous to a call for compromise, concession and a loss of individual conviction.

Yet, Scripture calls for the unity of believers throughout the New Testament. In John, Chapter 17 we are admonished not to live in isolation from other Christians. Romans, Chapter 12 tells us that unity includes sharing each other’s joys and burdens. First Corinthians, Chapter 1 implores us to seek unity in all essentials of the faith.

Ephesians teaches Christians that unity is possible among believers even in the midst of our diversity. And Philippians says that the type of love that Christ commands us to have creates unity among believers. In fact, it is unity that is to be a distinctive mark of Christians.

Yet denominations are frequently at war with each other, and even congregants inside the same church often have difficulty unifying.

Perhaps it is our pride or our selfish desires that most often keep Christians from displaying the mark of love that is supposed to draw nonbelievers to our faith. But whatever the reason, our divided hearts are not of Christ.

I’m intrigued by a new book that takes lessons from God’s marvelous creation and shows us how to apply them in our lives in order to form a unity of heart and purpose.

“Designed for More: Unleashing Christ’s Vision for Unity in a Deeply Divided World” calls Christians to respond to the command to unify with our fellow Christians and, thus, be more effective at reaching those who are searching for truth.

Written by Lucas Ramirez (with Mike DeVito), “Designed for More” points to a science of murmuration to help teach Christians how to move as one in purpose and spirit.

We’ve all witnessed the miraculous, natural and spectacular phenomenon of murmuration, although you might not have known what it was called.

Murmuration refers to the coordinated flight of hundreds of birds through the sky in a majestic sweeping motion. In a large flock of starlings, each bird knows when and where to swoop, and in what direction as they swirl in a synchronized dance. I’ve found myself mesmerized by the awesome display of intelligence and cooperation, caught up in the wonder of seeing so many creatures working in absolute harmony as they move with graceful, lightning speed.

Mr. Ramirez is the president and CEO of The Gathering Place, a highly successful student mentoring and Christian leadership development organization. He has made presentations at TEDx and the Catalyst Conference and regularly speaks to conferences for CEOs, educators and pastors. In his new book, he unpacks the lessons of the seven principles that researches have discovered that starlings employ in murmuration, and shows us how we can apply them in the family of believers so that Christians can move with purpose and grace too.

The principles of all murmurations covered in the book are: relationships, communication, strategy, shared resources, leadership, contribution and critical mass.

“The vision is not to create one megachurch or house everyone under one central authority. Unity is not uniformity, and it is not achieved by sacrificing purity. The call instead is for unity within Christian communities seeing ourselves, and acting, as a true body with diverse parts,” Mr. Ramirez says in his book.

Themes of unity run throughout Scripture, even when the word is not used. Mr. Ramirez reminds believers that God tells us we are the Body of Christ. Although we each have various roles, talents, personalities and weaknesses, together we form a fully functioning body, with each part designed to work in beautiful unison. If one organ or limb fails, the entire body suffers.

But when we work with singleness of purpose, great things can be achieved. Not only do we not forsake our uniqueness, but other members of the body are dependent on our specific function, as we are on theirs.

For the Christian who wants to fully explore the murmuration concepts in a small group or book club, Mr. Ramirez provides a free, five-day reading plan and a 10-day devotional at LucasRamirez.org.

Unity. It’s a command of Scripture, so perhaps it’s time to we explore how to fully embrace the call.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@rebeccahagelin.com.

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