I took the kids to see the Disney's African Cats Movie this last weekend. WOW, what a show of majestic animals. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the story of the wild cats of Kenya was told with intrigue, beauty, and humor to boot. I loved it.
One of the story lines kept ringing around in my head when the focus was on the "pride." Lions live in family groups called prides, and there are so many interesting benefits from living in the pride.
They bond together and show obvious friendship like qualities.
They hunt together for food.
They gather together for protection.
They live together to raise their young.
It was a real interesting story to watch as these lions sacrificed their lives for the good of the group. But when the lions left the pride, they subjected themselves to the dangers of the wild. They didn't hunt efficiently. They didn't have camaraderie like they did with the others. It was obviously harder to work outside the boundaries of the pride.
Then I started thinking about what it might be like if Christians lived this way.
What would it look like if we could see each other without labels of denomination, but rather; as followers of Jesus. What if the bond of 'one spirit' was real? (And you know what I'm talking about. Some believers will say with their lips we all worship the same God, but deep down inside they have an hunch the spirit THEY believe in is the real one.)
Sure there would be family scuffles in the middle of learning about one another, but the benefit would be a united front of Loving God and Loving Others.
What a force to show the world what God's message is all about! Million of believers, who without agenda, would Love God and Love Others.
I've seen this model work in two places in the country.
1. Syracuse, New York. If you ever have a chance to go to church in Syracuse and the surrounding towns, you'll notice the bonds of friendship among the pastors and youth pastors. It's quite remarkable to watch. They eat together. They worship together. They hang out together. And I knew something was up when they held an 'all city wide' youth rally at the Baptist Church, and all the other denominations were there helping. With smiles on their faces they saw the benefit of working together.
2. Wilmington, North Carolina. I just came back from a youth event in Wilmington, and the pastors and youth pastors from the area are starting an unbelievable movement. White kids. Black kids. Hispanic kids. Asian kids. I saw them all worship together under the banner of Jesus. Not under the banner of any man made kingdom, but the Kingdom of God was shown in full glory.
I know those aren't the only two places in the country figuring this concept out. But its refreshing to see believers who push for unity among the body.
In any event, the movie was a good retreat from real life, so if you like those kinds of films about the natural world, it's well worth the time and energy. And believe me, the time and energy you could spend in your community on the unity of the body is more than time well spent.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed.