Imagine a church with two-thousand years of being neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. A group of people who had been held together through every disagreement and outward attack by their unity in Jesus, the counterpoint to the deep animosities that divide the world.
It’s not hard to see why Jesus cared so much about the unity of his followers. He never forced anyone to come to him, but if they did, he called on them to put aside their prejudice and join a new family. Yet shortly after his ascension the church was already dividing itself by race and culture. The pattern of the world is hard to break.
At that time, brave people within the church, like Paul, fought to ensure that division could not gain a foothold, even going so far as a direct confrontation with the apostles at Jerusalem. When he heard that the churches were arguing about whose teaching they followed, he made it clear. We are all followers of the same Teacher.
What if the church in our neighborhood was filled with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs, and yet they all supported each other? If, as one family, followers of Jesus didn’t need to hide who they are and chase the world’s approval because they know a love that cannot fail?