…in our desperation to create community, to succeed in our efforts and carve out a "space" where we can find shared life and unity, the temptation is always before us to cultivate a sense of it through other things; shared interests in sports, shared hobbies, social service experiences, shared cultural backgrounds (high school experience, tv shows, movies, etc), shared meals, musical tastes, demographic-specific needs or any one of thousands of peripheral things that tempt us to 'major' our unity in while 'minoring' unity in Christ: where awaits the tangible power of endless life. We do lots of stuff and always try to mix in a little Jesus somewhere.
And then there is the mother of all shortcuts to unity: the party. We might not use that term exactly, but its [sic] what we end up creating. Unity in "good times" for the sake of "good times" modeled after sanitized patterns defined for us by the world. It is somewhat intoxicating, almost universally appealing and easy. A short cut. An age-old version of joy without all that bothersome ownership of other people's pain and ugliness. All we wanna do is have some fun and we all know we are not the only ones. Unity lite: low in sodium. Savor free. Ready to be trampled.
…So what might this path look like? First of all, answering "what-does-it-look-like" questions is sometimes dangerous because giving the answer tempts people to start imitating the fruit without developing the root…
We talk too much. We have too much knowledge and not enough substance. Partying with our knowledge is dangerous. A true spiritual unity will not be what the world would label a "party" by outward appearances. The apostles may have been mocked on the day of Pentecost as being "drunk with wine" but even such a label could not encompass the flood of thousands of souls rushing into the Kingdom because of their searing words that burned into hearts like hot metal on flesh.
In our day of digital self-service and sensory self-indulgence we are not in need of raising a pint of Guinness together and declaring "God is good." Rather, we are in need of beholding God as he is, being shaken by that vision to collapse on our faces and cry "Woe is me! He is Holy!"
Repentant lives, being washed clean of our tolerated sins that suddenly appear terrifying by the searing light of His countenance, are shown how to pay the price to enter in that fellowship that discovers and partakes of the unspeakable union found only between the Father, Son and Spirit. We err in our concocted "unity" based on our human devices. How quickly we exit the spirit that leads us into the purity that abides the presence of a God that is a consuming fire.
HT: Alan Knox