You wouldn’t think that riding your bike would provide examples of harmony and unity. Just steps away from our house is a bike trail with incredible vegetation, vistas that provide sweeping views, and access to a pier that goes out into a large lake filled with jumping fish, wetland birds, alligators, and wildlife of all kinds. The other day I saw a turkey on the shore. One evening I watched the sun dip down into the far side of the lake.
One of the best parts of any bike ride on that trail, is spending time out on that pier watching how the unity and harmony of nature plays itself out. There is an ecosystem that works the way in which it was intended by the Creator. There is life. And there is death. There is beauty. And in the midst of that beauty, ugly things, too.
In other words, it’s a mess. Just like life.
Yet in all of it there is harmony and unity that exhibits the way all things work together for good.
I have now had eight months to become part of the ecosystem of a new (for me) congregation. I have been serving, teaching, preaching, visiting, listening, asking, working, learning, and living with the people of Ascension Lutheran Church. We’ve been trying to put the pieces together. I feel as though I’ve been placed into an ecosystem that had already been working well, but was seeking ways to find even greater harmony and unity.
For months we have been having meetings and events designed to bring greater harmony and unity into an ecosystem where people have been brought together for a specific purpose. It’s not always easy. Where there are personalities, changes, and opinions, there are ups and downs, highs and lows. But where people have a common there is always a harmony and unity whether or not it is realized.
Last month we got together as a congregation to talk about unity, harmony, and purpose. It was an event that was well-received and met with enthusiasm. From the people who set up the room and put together the luncheon, to those who sat at tables laughing and talking with one another, to artists who made balloon animals and took photos, there was a spirit of unity and harmony.
But the event ended in a way that demonstrated the unity and harmony that some may not have realized was present. Members of our traditional choir and our praise band came together at the front of the room to lead the entire group in singing, “Now Thank We All Our God.” Everyone willingly and happily joined hands together all the way around the room in an outward demonstration of unity and harmony.
God demonstrates unity and harmony in many and various ways. When His baptized people come together there is no greater unity and harmony here on earth. It isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s even ugly and death-defying.
The ecosystem of God’s church ought to be demonstrated far more than it often is.
Where do you see harmony and unity demonstrated in the church, or otherwise?