June 7, 2015
In a Broken World, We Yearn for Unity
For it pleased the Father that in [Christ] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross
One of the things that almost every person longs for is unity. We use words like togetherness, harmony, and wholeness as positive words that describe something we wish there was more of in our lives. Wouldn’t we dearly love to have more peace within ourselves, with our neighbors, and, most of all, with our God? Yes, we would, and we even like to imagine a physical world where the forces of nature weren’t at war, a peaceable kingdom where things weren’t torn apart by tornadoes and typhoons.
Yet if unity is what we desire, there is precious little of it to be found in the world that now is. Here, the norm is enmity, not unity. We don’t have to look any further than the newspaper – or in the mirror – to know that many, many things have gone awry.
The promise of the gospel, of course, is that God is working toward a great reconciliation of all things in Jesus Christ. In Him all the “fullness” dwells, and in Him God has solved the problem of sin, which is the root cause of every kind of brokenness, both inside us and in the outside world. “Having made peace through the blood of His cross,” God is now moving the history of this world to a triumphant conclusion. The time is coming when everything will be put back together, and all who are willing to live in the harmony of God’s wisdom will enjoy the peacefulness of that wisdom forever. When that day dawns, there will be no more brokenness, no more being “at odds” with anyone or anything. Every trace of rebellion and disruption will have been justly banished from God’s presence, never to trouble the peace of God’s kingdom again.
But the time for that has not yet come, though our prayer is that it soon will: “O Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). For now, we are called to live with a certain “tension” in our hearts: the tension that comes from deeply longing for something that’s not available in this world. This tension, this longing, is not meant to discourage us; it’s meant to teach us what we need.
Our spiritual thirst keeps us yearning for the unity of all things and for communion with the divine. But we seek in vain for perfection within creation.