Sometimes God and I play the game where I tell Him what I would want most in all the world. If I could ask for any one thing, and I didn’t think about what was best, and if I was just being a kid, what would I even ask for? For these past few years, the answer has been fairly consistent.
I want unity.
I want unity with a million people and a handful of very specific people. I want unity with the people I see and the people I’ll never see again. I want unity within the Church and I want unity with the Church and those outside the Church.
I want unity.
I think for a lot of people, unity is a nice church concept or a weird word that you use to ward off gossip. But, for me it’s about repairing deep wounds, it’s a reconstruction of deep and binding ties that have been severed by circumstance or sin or death. It’s the thing that I ache for when I pray “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
I want unity the way some people want a spouse or kids or that dream job.
I want the Heaven, blood-bought kind. I don’t want the we-can-wave-when-we-see-each-other-in-the-lobby-of-Church kind of unity, I want the holding-hands-in-the-front-row-while-we-weep-in-a-worship-service kind. I want the not-ashamed-to-be-seen-with-me. I want the not-just-how-it-once-was, but better-than-it-ever-was. I want the kind of unity that isn’t based on friendship or personality or birth certificates or wedding rings. I want the kind that transcends all of the temporal binding.
I want the kind of unity that is bought by blood more powerful than the red stuff running through my veins. I want the kind of unity that makes no sense to anyone. That is foolish. That has no explanation.
The kind, that the most faithful might tell me to give up on and the most reasonable might tell me is unhealthy.
I keep trying to give up.
But I can’t.
I don’t know how.
Partly because I’m a closet optimist and partially because I know Him and I know the kind of unity we have. That has been carved through suffering, that sin doesn’t threaten and that failure can’t thwart.
I can’t give up because He taught me to pray for it: your kingdom come. (This kingdom where we are 100% unified.) Your will be done. (Your will that we love one another absolutely.) The same way in this time and place as it will be in Heaven. (Joyfully, fully, perfectly.)
But still, I know it may not happen in this life. And when the pain of that threatens to overwhelm my soul, two truths sustain me.
It’s available now.
The furthest – even now – that we can flee from one another is from one side of Christ’s body to the other. For we are all in Him. Push against me all you want, but you’ll find yourself trapped in Him with me. Our souls are mingling and mixing even now, our insides infected by the same Spirit. Whoever that person is that you want more closeness with, that you want more intimacy with, if you both are in Him, you have access to the deepest union possible already. Nothing is going to offer more unity: not living in the same city, or being married, or more quality time.
The unity I crave is inevitable. It’s hunting those who might flee from it and it will win that race. They will love me despite themselves. They will know me and walk with me forever, (whether they might want that outcome or not.) But the great gift is that they will want it as much as me. There is coming a day when they will see me as I am – not as they perceive me, not as my sin has painted me – but as I am, and they will want this unity with every part of their being.
And until that day comes, I will be here. Praying for that unity to win the race with His return and comes to us here and now in this life. I’ll pray with tears; with the fear that seems to always accompany hope for me.
Let your kingdom come and let your will for unity be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.