It’s wedding season (and new baby season?) and it makes me think a lot about the idea of togetherness or oneness. Togetherness isn’t simply being in the same room (sitting “together”) as someone or working on the same task (working “together”), it’s about a radical union between people that changes the way they do life. All of life. The work part, the eating part, the watching TV part, the church part, the money part, the emotional part…all of it.
In marriage we wouldn’t say that “together” is simply a “sticking with” someone in all of it, but rather it is changing how life is done and approached. Togetherness, oneness, should mark marriage relationships because two people are covenanted with one another for life, so the “other” becomes a part of themselves and everything affects each person. This isn’t a natural process; it’s a learning curve, especially for the way we approach life as individuals. But as a marriage grows, the hope is, the oneness grows and a deeper intimacy and relationship is formed.
But friends…this is so much bigger than marriage.
“Let me explain. Just as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is the Messiah. For we all were baptized into one body, by one spirit—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, The Kingdom New Testament 1).
“You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness….We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love” (Ephesians 4:4-6, 15-16 MSG).
Do you see it? We are one. One body with one King. Church, you are a family and you are bound to one another, covenanted with Jesus and his bride, for eternity.
That is radical.
That oneness that makes so much sense in marriage makes so much sense in the church. It’s all over the letters to the churches in the New Testament – bear with one another, consider one another more significant than yourself, be quick to forgive, weep with those who are weeping, rejoice with those who are rejoicing, eat with each other, be in each other’s homes, pray together, share what you have with one another. All of life: do it together. The Jesus life was never meant to be lived in isolated faith; it doesn’t work that way. We are members of one body and all that we do affects the other. Eat with that body, laugh with that body, read scripture with that body. Don’t isolate in your corner of the world; you were made to live and breathe, work and play, pray and learn, eat and fast, laugh and weep, all within the context of true togetherness.
How can you breed togetherness in your comGroup? How can you breathe in the reality of our togetherness, our oneness? How can you consider each other in all of life, not just the parts where you gather together?
You are a part of a family of believers, a family with a lot of dysfunction, yes, but with the most wonderful Father and King who is teaching all of us how to be one in him. Just like he’s been doing for thousands of years:
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved”
(Acts 2:42-47, NLT).
- Kingdom New Testament by NT Wright.