Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Unity in Diversity

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

When Boris Johnson was elected as Mayor of London, he paid tribute to the diversity of what he called the greatest, most cosmopolitan and generous hearted city on earth.

In the introduction to a recent document from the Home Office it said, “We have a vision of a successful integrated society that recognises and celebrates the strength in its diversity.”

There certainly is strength in diversity to which we should pay tribute, but on its own the statement, ‘strength in diversity’, is not enough. Celebrating diversity could allow us all to live alongside each other, in our separate little communities, each one sharing nothing and contributing nothing to the others.

Diversity alone is not enough. We need also to have a sense of what binds us together, what we owe to each other and can receive from each other, a respect for our essential unity as the children of one heavenly Father.

On the Day of Pentecost, when the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, it was such an extraordinary and powerful experience that it could only be described in picturesque terms, such as tongues of fire dancing on their heads and as a mighty wind rushing through the room in which they had been holed up paralysed by their terror.

But having received this remarkable gift, the apostles were driven out to proclaim to all that would hear them the wonderful truth that Jesus the Christ had been raised from the dead. And there were many people to hear them.

On that Pentecost morning there was a great and diverse community of people in Jerusalem. They came from all over the known world. They spoke in different languages. And yet in their diversity they were brought into unity. They could all hear and understand what Peter and the apostles were saying.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is a gift that binds together:

  • The Holy Spirit is, as St Augustine said, the love that binds together the loving Father and the beloved Son;
  • The Holy Spirit is the power of God in creation, brooding over the face of the waters, drawing order out of the chaos;
  • The Holy Spirit is the power of God at work in his church, reconciling difference, urging peace, drawing into unity;
  • The Holy Spirit is the power of God in each of us, informing our conscience, refreshing and developing our gifts, drawing us close to the love and power and beauty of God himself.

Binding together, drawing into unity, healing division, reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable: that is the work of God the Holy Spirit.

This has important implications for the diverse bunch of people brought together as the Christian Church. The call to be united, to be reconciled, to be bound together one with another is at the very heart of the gospel, since it is the very nature and the work of God the Holy Spirit. Let’s pray for greater unity one with another. Let’s be faithful to our calling, discerning the will of God for us to be united, and co-operate with it.

God the Holy Spirit offers us on this earth a foretaste of heaven. Heaven and earth are not for ever separate and un-reconciled. In God, all is one, all our diversities are reconciled, heaven is joined to earth and earth bound to heaven. Pentecost reveals our destiny to be united to God and in him with each other, ‘…for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus’. (Galatians 3:28). May the words of Bob Gillman be always on our lips,

Bind Us Together

There is only one God.
There is only one King.
There is only one Body.
That is why we sing:

*** Chorus ***
Bind us together, Lord,
bind us together
with cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
bind us together,
bind us together with love.

Made for the glory of God,
Purchased by his precious Son,
Born with the right to be clean,
For Jesus the victory has won.

You are the family of God,
You are the promise divine,
You are God's chosen desire,
You are the glorious new wine.

Have a good week being united in our diversity,

Pastor Barry

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