A GOOD WORD

Start: Wed, May 20   End: Wed, May 27 | 9:30am

By Davy Chu

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Beloved NPC family, 

 

If you asked me what my dream for our church is, here’s one way I might answer: for us to be one as Father and Son are one. It’s actually Jesus’ dream for the church—what he prays for us in John 17:20–23. Jesus’ dream is that our unity would be every bit as deep, every bit as real as the unity of the Godhead. Imagine a church that, despite very real cultural, ethnic, and social differences, is so perfectly unified, so suffused with the Father’s love, and so gloriously radiant that everyone who looks in on it catches a breath-taking reflection of the very unity of the being of God. And in that glimpse, the watching world sees that the gospel is true. It knows that the Church—that our church—is nothing less than Christ’s new-creation work. 
 

As we approach coming back together again physically for corporate worship, we have a unique opportunity to grow into that breath-taking unity. If you have been paying attention, you’ve seen the deep rifts that exist in our country on the questions of how and when to reopen. Leaders and citizens alike disagree on what our response to the pandemic ought to be and use it as an occasion to point fingers, deride others’ viewpoints, and insist on their own way. We will disagree too. We will have different opinions, even strongly held convictions, about when and how to come back. Some of us will want to be back as soon as possible, and indeed, are wrestling with whether ceasing to gather physically is tantamount to obeying human authority rather than God. Others of us will want to stay away from physical gatherings for the foreseeable future, out of love for neighbor and concern for our own health. Still others will find themselves somewhere in between or somewhere else entirely. When we do begin to gather, the how questions will elicit a range of opinions as well: Must we wear masks? Is congregational singing risky? When is your favorite ministry restarting? What about communion? The questions could be multiplied. 
 

If we let them, these differences will divide us. When confronted with the excessive caution of some, we’ll judge them gutless and unspiritual. When confronted with the excessive incaution of others, we’ll judge them reckless and uncaring. When our freedom is compromised by having to wear masks, we’ll resent authority. When our safety is compromised by others not wearing masks, we’ll resent their thoughtlessness. 
 

But here’s the opportunity we have with God’s help: to become even more unified than ever before. We have the opportunity eagerly to press into the unity that Christ won for us at the cost of his precious blood (Eph. 2:11–17). With prayer and patience, we can yield our own preferences for the good of others, mirroring what Christ did for each of us in salvation (Rom. 15:1–3). In humility, we can be in full accord and of one mind as we look to Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, humbled himself to become a servant, giving his life for ours (Phil. 2:1–11). And where we have complaints against one another, which we undoubtedly will, we can forgive as Christ has forgiven us (Col. 3:12–13). The gospel tells us that Christ sacrificed all to win salvation for us and to bring us together as one unified body under him, our one Head. The practical outworking of the gospel, then, is that we too would pursue unity with all the energy that God gives us, so that nothing as trifling as whether we wear masks, when and how we begin meeting, or any such question would divide us. 

Would you join with me not only in dreaming for this unity but, with God’s help, in praying for and pursuing it? Would you pray for our session as we seek God’s wisdom to navigate a complex situation? And would you pray that this countercultural, supernatural unity sweetly draws in outside onlookers?

In Christ, 

Davy