Scripture: Romans 15:1-13
Key verses: (5-6) May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection: Unity or Harmony. Unity is achieved when each element of a design fits with the overall concept of production or outcome; this is defined by how the elements relate to the process as a whole. Harmony, on the other hand, is defined by how the elements relate to each other. “How good and pleasant it is when sisters and brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). We are called to a life of unity, called into one body, the body of Christ Jesus. We are to strive for unity among ourselves in all we do to live in harmony with one another. Therefore, I would say, living together in unity is our individual relationship to the end goal (which to quote catechism is to glorify God and enjoy God forever). Living in harmony then is our individual relationship to each other in that process. I hear a call for harmony in verse 5, then a call for unity in verse 6.
Lately it seems as if everyone in the world is against each other — at least tribe against tribe — tearing the other down without care or accountability. Sometimes people can think of unity and harmony as acting, thinking, and believing the exact same way. God created each and every person an uniquely beautiful part of the body. Unity is not conformity. We are to live in harmony with one another by the grace of the God of steadfastness and encouragement in accordance with Christ Jesus. It takes great work and commitment. This then is a lesson in love and a lesson in humility. When we are in singleness of mind then we are a force to be reckoned with. The opposite is also true, if there are fights and quarreling among us then we keep ourselves out of service to the real battles in life. We are called to one hope and as such we have more in common with each other than not. “Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor.” May we be eager to pursue harmony for the sake of unity, recognize our likeness in Christ, and strive to live in mutuality. In doing so, Paul says, we bring glory to God.
Prayer: You call us into a life of unity and harmony O God. By the power of your grace, your steadfastness, and your encouragement, may we join together as one to live in unity and harmony so that we may, with one voice, glorify you and enjoy you forever. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].