Tuesday, December 07, 2004

What a gift THAT would be...

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
(Thomas Helmore, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," verse 4)
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"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also 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." (John 17:20-21, NIV)
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"Bid Thou our sad divisions cease." Now there's a Christmas gift worth asking for.

Parents not speaking to children; siblings not speaking to each other. Friends avoiding each other at social gatherings. Nuclear-armed nations staring in hate across boundaries at each other. Women and men of every race trapped in distrust and fear of each other. Nonsense about blue and red states, when in reality every state is simply varying shades of purple - blue and red mixed together, side by side.

Jesus prayed "that all of them may be one." That's us...and that's the prayer of the Son of God for each of us - but beyond just the church, to both believer and unbeliever. That Christ's whole body - not just the believers - might be one. In this time of Advent preparation, I need to ask myself today: what can I do - in my home, my extended family, my circle of friends, my work environment...yes, and in my church...wherever I am, to repair the divisions that fear, doubt, and sin have created. Those acts of healing and unity-building, perhaps more than anything, will help assure the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God.

Lord Jesus, you prayed that all of us might be one in you. Help me see, today, where I can make that prayer a reality. Amen.

9 comments:

Natala said...

Often I feel so discouraged, at the great amount of broken relationships, the hate, the ill feelings, and I feel helpless. Thank you for this today. The reminder that I needed.

Naomi said...

Steve, thanks for your compassionate comments on my blog. I could use the movies and the ice cream. I've seen both and maybe that's how I will spend my weekend.

AutobodyCAD said...

I agree with Natala. I love Christmas songs and thats one of my favorites. Seems like some people at work today came in already simmering, just waiting for an excuse to boil over. People's crappy attitudes seem to never cease.

Eventually Christ will return and set things straight in His Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

sigh...pause...amen.

Dave said...

Steve,

You need to be writing. And you need to get yourself published. Wherever.

And eventually you need to be speaking, wherever also. It's your "annointing" as they say.

Please think about it.

Just Pat said...

I think the dream of unity fails when the reality rests in the hands of men alone. But you've started with a prayer for unity, acknowledging God as the Author of peace.

Copacetic.

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is my second favorite hymn.

Poor Mad Peter said...

Reminds me of a sign I saw in a Menonnite Central Committee recycling store in Manitoba. It was on a postcard that was being sold as part of a fundraising effort for an overseas mission, and it read:

Let the Christians in the world stop killing one another.

sic said...

Hmm... We always sing that line as 'Bid envy, strife and sorrow cease'. How much meaning is packed into those little words: 'our sad divisions'...

MommyT said...

Your post reminds me of a song by Casting Crowns - "If we are the body". Have you heard it?

My favorite part:

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?

I LOVE this song. I think of it every time I watch the news and hear a story that makes me angry.