As we get closer to the Special Session of the UMC is this weekend, churches, annual conferences and other United Methodist groups are calling for prayer. They are printing prayer guides and organizing prayer vigils. Millions of United Methodists will pray for unity this weekend, even as delegates debate over human sexuality.
Sometimes a body of Christians pray and they find unity and agreement. Sometimes a body of Christians pray, and they come to contradictory conclusions and fight.
The New Testament provides a somber reality for churches and denominations seeking unity. Things start out well enough in Acts, with “All the believers were together and had everything in common” (2:44)
The same is said in Acts 4:32: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.But the author of Acts also recognizes that it wasn’t always like this.
A few verses later there is the unedifying story of a couple (5:1-11), who die after withholding from this unified community that shared everything.
There is an alarming account of racial and religious discrimination in the seemingly harmonious community at Acts 6:1-6.
As a result of corporate worship, the Holy Spirit sets apart Paul and Barnabas to be co-missionaries. prayer (13:2). After their 1st mission trip, they have a huge fight and split up (15:39)
Paul and Peter, the 2 pillars of the Church, had a fierce argument in public (Galatians 2:11-21
Paul writes letters to the Corinthian and Philippian churches because they couldn’t stop arguing with one another.
And this was before the days of denominational and theological labels. Church unity is a tricky thing to handle, so this should always be at the top of our prayer list.