CULTURE is the way of life of a particular community or people—their traditions, customs, beliefs, languages, art, and mode of dressing. UNITY is the quality of being united into one. DIVERSITY means differences. UNITY IN CULTURAL DIVERSITY is the way people can be united despite our cultural differences.
On the last night of Jesus’ life, He prayed for unity. Jesus knew that it was the last night before His death; he was waiting to be crucified. In John 17, we read the most important thing to Jesus at that precious moment in time. Unity! As we navigate this culture around us, many things are vying for our attention and prayer time; let us remember that unity should be at the top of our prayer list.
John 17:20-21 “My prayer is not for them alone. I also pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Out of all the things, He could have prayed, knowing that His end was near, Jesus prayed for unity and you and me. Jesus prayed that we would love each other. Why? John tells us, “By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:35.
How will the world we live in know that we are followers of Jesus because of our love for one another? When we are as angry as everyone else on social media, telling everyone else how they should believe, we lose our witness. It reveals to our community two things:
1) Common beliefs about politics is more important than common beliefs in faith
2) We don’t really trust the Sovereignty of God.
In an environment fraught with variables, cultivating unity provides meaning and stability. It provides answers to underlying questions, thereby creating an environment of transparency and trust. The church was designed to be an alternative to our culture, not to reflect it. Our responsibility as followers of Jesus is to show our divided world what it looks like to disagree with one another and still live in unity with love for one another.
What does unity look like in this culture that surrounds us?
- It is choosing not to be offended.
- Choose to look at what we do have in common and make that the priority.
- It is choosing people over any issue, however big or small it may be.
As Christians, we need to declare a cease-fire and represent Jesus so well that others want to know Him too!