“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in and in all.” – Ephesians 4:3-6 (NIV)
There’s a line in Handel’s Messiah that is based in the prophetic words of Isaiah 40. After we hear the command to prepare the way for the Lord, the tenor and then choir sing, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.” The way of God is one that literally levels the field. The valleys are brought up, the mountains brought down.
It makes me think of Galatians 3:28, which tells us what it means to belong to Christ: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul takes class and race and gender and throws them aside. There’s no room for divisions in the Church, the body of Christ. In Jesus, we are one.
One of the beautiful things about baptism is that it is done in community. In a way, we who witness a baptism get to see the spiritual birth of a new brother or sister in Christ. No matter what their political affiliation, no matter their job, or mental capacity, or country of origin, or favorite football team: we are united with each other in Christ! You can celebrate what God is doing in them, and they can celebrate what God is doing in you.
This is why we do so many things together in worship. We sing together. We sometimes say prayers or read scriptures or respond in one voice. We eat the bread at the same time, or drink the cup at the same time. All of this is to remind us that we are one in Christ.
The more we release the superficial things that separate us from one another, and the more we rest in the eternal reality that we are one in Christ, the more we will reflect the love of the Triune God for all of us, to the world around us. All glory to God, for His amazing and unifying love for us!