“Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.”
– Ephesians 4:2-6
At The Commons Gathering on May 24th, 2015, I was speaking on Ephesians 4:1-16. This passage talks a lot about Unity. In the Believers Church Bible Commentary on Ephesians Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld talks about how something often referred to as “Meekness Values”(Humbleness, Gentleness, Patience, Tolerance) is the the Glue of Unity for Paul, the author of Ephesians (p.172).
In Ephesians 4:3 we read “Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.” Other Translations use the phrase “Bond of Peace,” a bond can also refer to a chain anything that binds things. Yoder Neufeld says “Peace is the fetter of unity. Humility, gentleness patience, and forbearance [tolerance with each other] are the links in the chain of peace.” (P 173). He goes on to say that unity is a fragile gift from God, and that it needs the support of the Holy Spirit to be maintained.
We ended our gathering with a Group Prayer for unity. We stood in a circle and read the prayer below. People were asked to volunteer to read a line that had resonance with them.
I said that it is OK if there was silence as we waited for a line to be read. Awkward silence is part and parcel for asking people to volunteer and group readings are awkward at the best of times on top of that. But a rare thing happened that day at The Commons…
…there was zero awkwardness. We started reading together, and each line flew out of the mouth of each individual volunteer as if we were a single voice. It was so seamless and it had such perfect flow that immediately after we were done everyone was going “Wow!” Some one even exclaimed “I think that was the most un-awkward thing that has ever happened at The Commons!” and everyone agreed.
Unity, it is beautiful even in the small things.