In the last few years as I’ve come to enjoy a little bit of hobby photography, I’ve come to notice and appreciate the method of staging. Not staging in terms of setting up a fake pose, but rather utilizing angles to get a richer end result in a picture. One such technique is photographing an object AND it’s reflection in water. An example of that is the picture at the top of this post (it’s a picture of the Bessborough hotel, famous landmark in our city. I did not take this picture but found it on the internet). The degree of wind at the time of a picture will determine how clear the reflection will be or how much distortion there will be due to waves or water ripples. An absolutely windless day and still water obviously makes for fantastic “mirror” images.
This past Sunday we looked at non-negotiable belief #3 which is UNITY. In John 17 we read of Jesus’ prayer that his followers would be one (John 17:20-21 “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one”). The Apostle Paul continued Jesus’ concern by repeatedly including that appeal in his letters. As we mentioned Sunday, unity doesn’t require, nor is it humanly possible, one hundred percent agreement. However, a spirit of unity is characterized by humility, love, and co-operation while a spirit of disunity is characterized by pride, hate, division, and destruction. An illustration of the latter is the fresh news story of the riots at Berkeley yesterday. Disagreement expressed through destructive and hateful protest.
Jesus’ desire for our unity is rooted in our identity and his identity. John 17:21-23 “ 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. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—”
As there is unity in the Godhead (between Father and Son in this passage, but the Holy Spirit too in other passages), Jesus desires we have that same intimacy, that same unified heart. He wants our relationship to be a reflection, a mirror of the relationship that exists within the Godhead! The three persons of the Trinity-Father ,Son, and Holy Spirit- are one, yet they have distinctive personhood. Their unique personhood in no way interferes with their oneness.
Just think of Jesus’ desire for us. We get to taste, we get to reflect to others who God is as we are united! Wow. That kind of imagery also recalls to mind the Creation narrative. In Genesis (1:26-27) we read how mankind was made in the image of God. That is reflection as well.
Unity is important because Jesus said it was and prayed for it. We need reminders often that our lives and the mission of the church are so much bigger than ourselves and our preferences. How we relate to one another reveals who God is to the world. If we are of one heart and mind then it is like photography capturing an image reflected perfectly in still water. However, if we are squabbling and in disunity then we are poorly mirroring to the world who God is. May God unite us and others come to love God because of the peace and harmony they see in us as we co-exist despite our differences and disagreements.