How pleasant it is when God’s people are unifiedPublished 10:04am Friday, August 9, 2013
By the Rev. George Marin
Grace Christian Church
“Oh how good and how pleasant it is for God’s people to dwell together in unity.” Psalms 133:1.
This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to sit with hundreds of fellow believers in the annual community worship service at the Freeborn County Fair and listen to one of the greatest sermons I’ve ever heard. The message was delivered by one of Albert Lea’s finest pastors, Matthew Hundley, of the Albert Lea Vineyard Church. The pastor read from verses in Psalms 133. In these verses, the psalmist David was making a declaration over the people of Israel in saying, “How good and how pleasant it is for God’s people to dwell together in unity.” This was not just an observation by the King of Israel, but it was a fact of life that he was experiencing as the head of state. David knew what it was to go to war and fight. He was a master warrior and leader of troops. He understood battles and conflicts, not only with his enemies, but at times also with his own family and countrymen. But, at this point in his life, he was rejoicing in the fact that God’s people were actually pulling together on the same team, with the same focus, and God was the God of that people.
As it was in King David’s day, the fact remains today, “How good and how pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity.” Unity does not mean we all agree all the time about everything. Unity does not mean we will believe the exact same way, and we will always walk in lock step. But, it does mean we will recognize we are all on the same team, and Jesus Christ is our captain. He is the head of his body, the church, and we will do all we can to steadfastly follow him. Jesus will never steer his body in the wrong direction. He will direct our path and make it straight as we seek to follow him. He will always speak the right counsel to the church. He will always respond with love and compassion to his people. He will hold his body together as we seek to remain in him.
In John 15, Jesus teaches us that he is the vine and we are the branches and that if we abide in him, we will bear much fruit and that our fruit will last.
As I listened to pastor Matt lead us as the church of Albert Lea, he spoke about looking past our disagreements and coming into agreement with one another. He spoke of us coming together to serve the people of this community and to shine brightly for Jesus Christ. He spoke about people from different congregations serving alongside each other for the common good. This all made great sense, and it ushered in a spirit of togetherness at the end of the service when we shared in the Lord’s supper, remembering what Christ has done for the church in laying his life down for us. It was a tremendously moving experience for me and for hundreds of others.
Immediately after the service one of our other fine pastors, Caleb Hurley, came to me and asked “Did you just feel what I felt in this service?” He said, “I felt something shift in the spirit, something new beginning to happen for us.” I, too, felt that in my heart and with that I make this declaration over the church of Albert Lea today, “Oh how good and how pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity.” If you claim Jesus Christ as Lord, we are on the same team!
One of the best ways to dwell in unity with other believers is to serve the Lord by serving people. The week of Aug. 11-17 is the ShineFest projects week. There will be many things to get involved in to help people at the local level. If you’re interested in coming together with fellow believers for the common good, please call Mark Whillock at 507-330-8392 (oil change project and block party) or Jim Troe at 507-402-3410 (housing remodeling projects). We’d love to have you join in!