Keeping Unity as We Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.
As Christians, we don’t make unity, we keep unity. Because of Christ, Christians from every tribe, tongue, and nation are already unified by the Holy Spirit.
But we don’t always behave that way, do we? I wonder if it’s because we don’t really understand what Paul meant when he wrote his letter to the early church in Ephesus. His words are 2,000 years old, but they are as relevant today as they were then.
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (Ephesians 4:3-7 NIV).
Let’s unpack this a bit:
- One body: the body of Christ has one Head: Jesus. We’re a family of believers, regardless of skin color or nationality.
- One Spirit: one Holy Spirit indwells every believer, again regardless of skin color or nationality
- One hope: despair has gripped our world today. But believers have a hope that transcends pandemics, viruses, economic cycles, or any other circumstance.
- One Lord: Jesus is our Lord & Master. We are not masters of each other. Rather, Christians are all servants of Christ. And when our Master tells us to keep unity, it’s a command, not a suggestion!
- One faith: everyone has faith in something. But the object of the Christian’s faith is Jesus Christ. He is the only way to a restored relationship with the Father.
- One baptism: baptism is the outward expression of an inward change. It is our public identification with Jesus Christ.
- One God and Father: One God. Three Persons, but one God. The mystery of the Trinity may be difficult for us to wrap our minds around, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Even with this understanding, Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “At 11:00 on Sunday morning . . . we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation.” Today many Christians still worship God with people who look and act like themselves—racially socially, economically, and politically.
Especially in light of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on January 17, let’s remember that someday in eternity, all Christians will stand before the throne of our Creator. Together we will praise Him for who He is and thank Him for who we are: redeemed people from every tribe, language, and nation. Let’s start practicing that now!