One year ago in May, I preached my first sermon. In it, I shared about how my experiences rowing have shaped my view of unity within the body of Christ. As Christians, sometimes we need to be reminded that we are all on the same team! So, today I wanted to share this sermon on my blog.
You can listen to the full sermon here: http://jcboston.org/unity/
Or you can check out my sermon notes below…
A few years ago, I was training with the ambition of making the national rowing team – practicing twice a day, six days a week. One fall morning, I realized that my passion and desire for rowing had left. Then, throughout the next few months, God replaced this with an incredible dream for unity within the Christian community here in Boston. Today I want to share a little bit with you about what I’ve learned about Christian unity based on my background as a rower.
One of the reasons rowers look so united is because they act, think, and move as one. In fact, the better able rowers are able to work together, the faster the boat will go. When everyone is synchronized, the work almost becomes effortless, and there is nothing like the feeling of eight people moving together, flying over the water.
Principle 2: A team is united in spirit
Principle 4: A team embraces the diversity of the team members
In a rowing shell, each person has a different role. The girls in the stern were in charge of setting the rhythm of the boat, while the middle four were the engine room supplying the power, and the bow pair helped to keep the boat set from tipping from side to side. I found that when I understood my own role within the boat, it helped the boat go function more effectively.
You see, unity doesn’t imply uniformity. Rather, true unity embraces the diversity amongst the individuals. I’d urge you to find out how God has gifted you spiritually. God didn’t make us all the same, on purpose, because it humbles us. We are unique because it helps us understand that we are better together and that we need one another. We must understand that to be in the kingdom of God is to move away from a model of independence and towards interdependence.
Rather than denying the differences between denominations, as Christians we must embrace the uniqueness among parts of the body and learn from one another. You see, as the Christian community, rather than compete with one another, we complete each other. As we do this, we can be confident that as the body of Christ we will be much more effective in our work: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16).
Principle 5: A team encourages one another
It’s been too long that the church has been simply ignoring one another, striving for the same goals but not talking to its fellow team members. What can you do to promote unity within the Christian community? I’d encourage you to begin by speaking well of other Christians. This week, can you commit to saying an encouraging word about another individual or church of a different denomination than yours? This is one simple thing you can do to promote the unity of the spirit, which is God’s desire for us, His church. When we come together united as one, just imagine what God can do…