I love the little couplet that is humorous yet so descriptive of how believers live together: “To live above with saints we love, that will be bliss and glory but to live below with saints we know, that’s quite another story.”
We don’t want to miss out on the fact that, for all of the teaching and work of Jesus toward redemption, He was constantly in the process of creating a new people of God—Kingdom people whose values and actions reflected those of Heaven. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He included this very important aspect: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” He meant for Kingdom life here to be lived out amongst and between His own.
The term Jesus used over and over in His prayer was “oneness.” Lord, make them one as we are one. Give them oneness between each other. Oneness will be the quality that both reflects the glory of God and draws others into the Kingdom.
What is this oneness of which Jesus speaks? It is not ethereal, only to be realized in Heaven. It is however a heavenly quality brought to earth. It is the appreciation of the roles, gifts, and make-up of other believers and the understanding that we each have been given Kingdom purpose. It is that which allows us to cover our brothers’ weakness and elevate his strength. It is reciprocal in nature, circular as expressed in the Godhead toward each other. It is the understanding that we have all been marred and that each of us is a work in process, needing the continual grace of God in our lives. It perhaps is best expressed in the 1st Corinthians passage on love, for agape love brings an oneness quality to life.
The truth is, it is easier to read about, to dissect, to debate, or to discuss oneness, than it is to live it out. The only possible hope we have for oneness is the abiding presence of the Spirit in our lives reaching out to others and from others to ourselves. Love or oneness can never be legislated but rather gained as gift and goal as we walk with Jesus.
The constant direction of Jesus’ last words was that His departure is the only way possible for the Spirit to come to dwell with us and in us, making this new Kingdom on earth a reality. It is still the only way the Kingdom will be on earth as it is in heaven until Jesus returns for us. During this month’s consideration of stewardship, let’s pray together that oneness will be reflected in our relationships in this great Army as it is reflected in Heaven. Let Oneness be the calling card for the generation we are shaping and for which we have the responsibility of stewarding.