Knit Together

Click. Click. Slide. Click. Click. Slide. That was the sound of my childhood, sitting on the couch next to my mother as she busied herself with knitting. She was a wonderful knitter. I remember watching her knit every evening from the time I was little. Our family still enjoys “Grandmere’s” beautiful lacy throws and blankets in every color combination imaginable. In my closet is an intricate winter sweater that she knit for her own mother one year for Christmas, which was passed down to me. The idea of taking different skeins of yarn in their individual packages and weaving them together into something wearable or useful still fascinates me.

In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul reminded the people that they were meant to be “knit together.” This passage from 1 Corinthians is painful to read. Paul addressed the many divisions that had formed in the church in Corinth and basically told them to knock it off. People had aligned themselves with different church leaders and were standing in opposition to each other. Their unity had completely unraveled. Division in the church?? Say it isn’t so

It is so.

The history of the Christian church in America is filled with schisms, mergers, disaffiliations, and strife. My own denomination is going through a time of splits and separations, and it is extremely painful. United Methodism has become Untied Methodism and it breaks this pastor’s heart. I grieve the fact that we are not meeting Paul’s standard for how a church should behave:

1 Corinthians 1 (New Revised Standard Version)

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you but that you be knit together in the same mind and the same purpose.11 For it has been made clear to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 

13 Has Christ been divided?

Here is the heart of the issue. Christ has not been divided. Christ calls us into a “oneness” of thought, belief, and purpose. One of the last things he did before he made his way to the cross was to pray that his disciples and those who come later, meaning us, would be “one.”

John 17 (Common English Bible)

21 I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.22 I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. 23 I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.

We have utterly and completely failed.

Paul continued his argument with the Corinthian church:

1 Corinthians 1 (New Revised Standard Version)

Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel—and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

What can you do to bring unity and harmony to your world? Does everything have to be fought over? Can you just agree to disagree with someone rather than fracture the relationship?

God desires that we would be one in our families, our schools, our workplaces, and our churches. Is God calling you to change your attitude?

Reflecting God’s Beauty by Michelle Robertson

Be One

The recent scare of a gas shortage hit the Outer Banks hard this week. People sat in their cars in long lines, waiting their turn to fill up. By the end of first day of this mess, many of the gas stations were completely empty. Gas stations with multiple entrances had the challenge of cars coming from different directions and then having to maneuver to the side where their gas cap was located, usually in very small spaces due to the congestion. I saw a picture of an SUV in a nearby town that was being loaded with multiple gas containers after the fellow had already filled his tank. Suffice it to say that this behavior is not acting in the best interest of the community. Hoarding a resource that is perceived to be in short supply does not contribute to the “oneness” of a community. Someone said that gasoline is the 2021 version of 2020’s toilet paper hoarding. Shame on us when we take what we don’t need and deprive others of the resources they need to survive.

We were created to live in community and be interdependent on one another. Shared vision, shared experience, and shared resources are part of the design by which we are made. Yet rarely do we function like this.

Have you ever wondered what Jesus’ last prayer for his people was? Ironically, he prayed that we would be “one.”

John 17 (New Revised Standard Version)

6 ”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 

9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 

11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.

Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 

The oneness of the triune God is a natural reference for Jesus as he prays for the oneness of his followers. “So that they may be one” is the last petition that Christ makes on our behalf. How do you think we are doing with that? Our multiple denominations, schisms, splits, and divides surely must grieve him. I don’t think denominationalism will have a place in heaven. Can’t we all just get along?

12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.

This scripture calls us today to lay down our need to assert our individual thoughts, needs, and perspectives and work toward a common goal of preaching Christ-crucified…and nothing more. When we do that, we show people that following Jesus is a group effort, and together, we can change the world.

Be Sure to Stop at the Bank First