Hi again. A number of years ago I had the privilege of facilitating a leader’s 3 day prayer summit in the Philippine island of Mindanao. It was a wonderful time of praying and sharing with leaders from different streams in the Body of Christ there. At the debriefing in the afternoon of the final day a dear lady from one of the barrios exclaimed. ‘Now I understand, if the body does not come together the head has nowhere to sit’. Simple but profound! My mind went to Deut. 33:5 which says ‘And He was King in Israel when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together.’ (Emphasis mine.) Making oneness a priority in our towns, cities and regions as the body of Christ of that locality is essential to giving Jesus His rightful place in our midst.
It is a blight on the church, and leaders in particular, when we do not discern and love fervently the Body of Christ in our locality. God intends for there to be a visible expression of Christ in our towns, cities and nations. Dietrich Bonheoffer said. ‘Jesus was God made concrete on earth, the church is to be Jesus made concrete in our communities’. In other words Jesus made visible through His ‘together’ body.
‘The continuous and widespread fragmentation of the church has been the scandal of the ages. It has been Satan’s master strategy. The sin of disunity probably has caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined – could it be that the obstacle to the salvation of the world is not in the world but in the church.’ Max Lucado, author
A well known Bible scholar and conference speaker, Dr. Ern Baxter said ‘The Christian community is the reproving headquarters of the Holy Spirit, therefore fragmentation of the Body of Christ is probably the greatest sin against the Holy Spirit.’
In the late 1990’s I listened to a pastor who had recently found an intimate relationship with the Lord and had joined other pastors from different denominations at a four day prayer summit. On the first night before sleeping, with his new found zeal for God he prayed ‘Lord please show me your face’. That night, instead of the Lord’s face, he was shown the Lord’s nail pierced feet. The following night he prayed the same prayer only to be shown the Lord’s feet and legs. The third night after praying the same prayer he found himself standing with the Lord in the midst of the pastors who had met the previous day. He was told to look around the circle and into the faces of all those present. The Lord then spoke to him and said, ‘As you have looked into all those faces you have seen My face’.
May we too discern the beautiful face of Jesus in the faces of other believers in our locality no matter what their church or church culture.
Until next time. God bless. Colin