BY AMY WALTON |
For much of my young life, the only time I heard the word division was in reference to math problems. Sadly, the word is used too frequently these days and not in relation to math.
There’s division within our families, friendships, churches, nation, and world.
And it’s wrong.
I’m no theologian or global relations expert, but I am a member of the human race, and I inhabit this old earth just like you. I figure God planted me here in this particular time known as my life, and I believe He loves me beyond my wildest imagination. However, I don’t think I’m in any way superior to someone who does not share my skin color, socioeconomic status, education, or political leanings. I could add a whole list of other areas, too.
Prior to last year’s big shutdown, I heard an astronaut speak at a local venue. He said he wished every person could travel in space and look at our home planet, realizing we’re all on the same team.
I have no desire to head into the wilds of space with Jeff Bezos, NASA, or any other person or entity; but I completely get the astronaut’s point: We are united as citizens of this earth.
And, yet, we aren’t.
I visited a church many years ago the Sunday after Vacation Bible School ended. The smiling youngsters sang a few songs they’d learned at VBS, but the final one I’ll never forget. It was called “God’s People Puzzle,” which began, “I’m a piece of God’s people puzzle, and there’s no piece just like me…”
I still think about that catchy tune and its words these thirty-some years later. We ALL are parts of this great big world and for many of us, the Christian church universal. I am excited that there’s such diversity. Life would be pretty boring if we all looked, acted, and thought alike.
But we’ve allowed our diversity to separate us. It seems we’re divided along so many lines these days: Politics, race, religion, COVID-19 … I could go on.
Two of the many things I love about our Moravian faith is its diversity and its unity. Our church sent the first missionaries in 1732 to St. Thomas, and in the nearly 300 years since that initial trip, we have planted missions all over the world, with pastors and congregants who are natives of their lands. We are a welcoming church, a beacon for people whom many may perceive as “different.”
And in the midst of this diversity, we’re a church deeply rooted in unity. It’s the very foundation of who we are as Moravian Christians.
We need some unity in the world right now, and it must begin with each of us.
What can we do as individuals and as a church to foster greater unity, not only in the Body of Christ but in our families, communities, and the world? Here are six suggestions:
- Have open-hearted and open-minded conversations within your family and friends about unity, what it means to you and to them and how each of you are contributing–or not–to creating a spirit of cohesiveness. Perhaps start within the family unit. How does your family create team work, and how do you discuss the division that’s played out in the news and on social media?
- Consider hosting a small gathering at your home or online and invite a diverse group of friends of various religions, races, cultures, and political leanings. Establish some ground rules, including respectful listening; create an agenda or talking points (questions) beforehand. Again, a couple of the questions might be related to how each person helps promote unity and how they might foster it.
- Look into supporting a charity that impacts people who differ from you. When my children were young, we “adopted” a girl in Guatemala, sending $10 a month and exchanging letters with her. Little Rosario helped us learn about her country and life and always thanked us for helping provide her with basic needs and education. My sons loved being pen pals with her, and our active support helped them learn more about Central America and what it means to give to those who are not as fortunate as us… and different.
- Refrain from posting, liking, or commenting on anything on social media that is potentially divisive. Try it for one day a week or an entire week. Expand your “fast” by not sending or replying to politically charged emails or texts. And during your abstinence, do at least one act that promotes unity.
- Accept that it’s okay that a friend or group does not share your beliefs or opinions. Really, it’s fine. We probably share more in common, especially our Christian faith.
- Pray daily for unity, and pray for your leaders, starting at the top with the president and going all the way down to your local city council and your home.
A Christian friend recently told me she refuses to pray for our current president. My personal and very strong belief is that we absolutely should pray for all our leaders and for unity in our nation, our world, and the church, regardless of where we stand on issues. It’s the right thing to do.
Let’s stop the social media rants, and let’s not get pulled into those of others. Let’s have respectful conversations with people whose beliefs and opinions are different from ours. Let’s seek understanding, and let’s PRAY.
It’s the Christian way to live, and it’s the right thing to do. Starting in our own heads, hearts, and lives, we can help move toward greater unity.
We’re all beautiful pieces of God’s people puzzle, uniquely and divinely created; and put together, one human race.
May each of us do our part to move toward a more united world.
About the author
Amy Walton is a certified life coach, certified Christian life coach, speaker, and writer who has lived in coastal Virginia for nearly 30 years. A native of Mayodan, North Carolina, she was baptized, confirmed, and raised in Mayodan Moravian Church, where she remains an Associate Member. Connect with her at www.HolyGrounding.com or [email protected].