Our Father's Greatest Desire. Stuck in Rochester and Loving It, Part 3


It is amazing that so many denominations can come together and stand united during a Christian concert. Just imagine with me for a moment, what it might be like if the ushers were to divide the concert goers according to their denominations:

"Can I have you tickets please? And what denomination are you from?"

"I am Lutheran."

"Please sit on the right side at the back of the auditorium."

"Can't I sit up front, close to the stage?"

"Sorry. It's reserved for the charismatic groups."

"But I would really like to seat up front."

"You could become Charismatic if you like. Their pastor is right over there. You're welcome to talk to him!"

"But wait! This is really unfair!"

"Life is unfair, my friend! Get used to it! Please be advised that the people sitting right next to you are from a very legalistic denomination. They do not believe in Christian concerts. Just pretend that they're not there."

"Then why ARE they here?"

"Next. What is your denomination?"

"I am from a non-denominational church."

"Hum. That does pose a problem. Can you wait here for a moment, please…"

But it isn't like that at all, is it? When you go to a Christian concert, Lutherans sit next to Charismatics, Roman Catholics are with Baptists, and Uniteds are with the Non-denominationals. If you watch, you will see them talking to one another as if they were long lost friends. In fact, it is at Christian concerts that Jesus ardent prayer seems to be fulfilled: "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:20-22 NIV)

If Christians can co-exist peacefully, and if this state of being is even the desire of Jesus Christ Himself, then why are Christians so divided in the real world? Don't we all preach the same message? Jesus died for us so that we could live for eternity. He rose up on the third day and shares His resurrection life with anyone who accepts His loving sacrifice!

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." (1 Cor 15:3-8 NIV)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-9 NIV)

Yes, we may all have the same message, but our additional theology luggage brings division among us and put us in direct opposition to Jesus prayer for unity. How can the world know of a true loving God, if we cannot even love one another?

This message of unity was shared by the Christian group named Delirious at the concert. In fact, during one of the songs, a remarkable thing happened. Everyone in the audience took the hand of the person to their right and to their left, and we all began singing praises to God. It was during this time that God's presence became so real that we all started to dance with the joy of the Lord! God's presence was multiplied among us by the simple fact that we had become physically united in the presence of God with all denominational barriers shattered to pieces. As a result, we all left the concert laughing with total strangers, wishing people from a variety of different denominations a good night.

And why not? We are all children of the Most High! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:28-29 NIV) I believe that if the apostle Paul walked among us today, the above text would read slightly differently: There is neither Charismatics nor Lutherans, Roman Catholics nor Brethren in Christ, for you are all one in Christ!

May we all come into God's presence with awe and reverence, in unity with one another. May we become the generation that revolutionizes the world from the inside out, standing united because of Him, the One who broke all divisions through His loving sacrifice on the cross. May we realize that we are all children of God and that we are all heading in the same direction. He is the only One who can make it possible, but we have to be willing to follow His lead.

"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor 6:18 NIV)

"May I have your tickets please. What denomination are you from?"

"None. I am a child of God, redeemed by the One who willingly sacrificed Himself so that I could be really free."

Rob Chaffart

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