How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
I awoke like an excited child on Christmas morning, full of expectation and anticipation. The sun was shining, the preparations were underway…this was going to be a good day…
Rewind to 8th May this year (which seems a lifetime ago now). It was mid-lockdown and after weeks of staying in our homes, my street had planned a socially distanced VE Day street party to celebrate. The front of every house was adorned in bunting and flags of red, white, and blue, the sound of wartime songs floated on the breeze from an old record player as my neighbours and I dressed in our 1940s finery came out to sit on our driveways at tables laden with picnics and afternoon teas.
This is one of my absolute favourite moments from this year. Despite the strict lockdown rules and social distancing, I felt closer to my neighbours than I ever had. In fact, I usually would never even see most of my neighbours, we were more like ships that passed in the night. Had we not been on lockdown, I likely would not have been at home at all that day. This made it all the more special to see us all coming together and celebrating even whilst staying physically apart.
‘Two are better than one… If either of them falls down, one can help the other up’
During lockdown I saw so many examples of communities across the nation coming together and standing united. Every Thursday evening neighbours across the nation stood on their doorsteps to applaud our wonderful NHS. Community groups formed seemingly overnight, rallying volunteers to shop, pick up medication, and support those who were shielding. We learned to Zoom and reached out to friends and family we hadn’t spoken to in a while, getting creative with ways to socialise online.
“And the world came together as the people stayed apart.”
We see this often in times of crisis and challenge, communities rising up and coming together, standing united in the face of a common enemy or adversity. We also see it time and time again in the Bible. In fact, God speaks of the importance of unity throughout the Bible. From the first humans, when God states that it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18) to God calling His New Testament church to be united and work together as one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). The early church in Acts were completely united in heart and vision, meeting together every day, praising God and giving to those in need (Acts 2:42-47). We can learn a lot from their example.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
As we move back towards being able to be physically together more, I pray we will not lose the sense of community that was built during lockdown. In my own life I hope I will continue to be intentional in investing in my relationships, reaching out to those around me in need, and making the effort to slow down and get to know those around me. There are plenty of things in this world that can bring division, but in the midst of it all we have the choice to stand for unity and peace.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11