"Again, let us beware of interpreting these commands rabbinically, that is, in chief concern for the letter, to the missing of the Spirit. The cheek, the coat, the mile, the borrowing---- these are but the costume. Look within the costume for the body, or rather within the body for the Spirit. Having mastered the words as words, let us throw away our lexicons and grammars. For the letter, if alone kills; it is the Spirit within the letter which alone gives life.”
(George Dana Boardman- The Kingdom -1899)
Grammatolatry: Idolatry of the letter that gets in the way of Spirit led life… hmmm?
Have you ever wondered why there are approximately 30,000 Christian denominations? It seems that every organization claims to have some distinctive that makes them different than the rest, and therefore finding it necessary to separate from the whole. We even assess and prejudge one another in like fashion with our presuppositions and various worldviews. When we ask the question, “What church do you go to?” What we sometimes really want to know is “what is it that you believe, or do you believe like me? “
Last time I checked, there is only one Church, one Body of Christ. The Lord does not mind the variety of cultures, expressions, etc; especially if they are following Him. Why is it that we often see it as a wall towards relationships and working together for His Kingdom within our communities? We are missing the beauty of our uniqueness, and the ability to challenge, correct, and love through our differences.
I need you, you need me, we are one big family… hah!
We often read the Word of God and each other based on our self-bias, culture, experience, etc. We read and interpret out of context, and instead of unity we continue to build walls between us that diffuse the power of God in our lives and how we engage with a world that needs Him. And we are the ones that are supposed to represent Him as ambassadors of His eternal Kingdom.
Is it possible that our grammatolatry, or in other words our preference, and interpretation of His written word have caused us to miss the big picture? Is it possible that all enemies of the Divine, including self has even used Scripture to divide rather than bring us together? What will it take to get beyond the divisions and factions that remain in the Body of Christ?
We continue to hear the word unity quite often these days in the body of Christ. We have many leaders of the church who have it as a goal in their life, and preach it as a goal of their church organization. I do not want keep hearing about unity as a goal, or something that we preach; I want to see unity as a reality and something we live. Jesus prayed for unity and it is the heart of the Father for His people to live in the harmony of Himself towards one another. Let’s reflect on the Lord’s Prayer for all of us in John 17;
20“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me, and that you love them as much as you love me.
Jesus desired that believers from every generation would be one just as He and the Father are one. This is a powerful prayer from our Lord for us to fulfill in Him. It is also a prayer that has yet to be realized fully in the Body of Christ. He has given us new life, He has given us His Holy Spirit, He has passed His glory on to us, and yet we have moved slowly into this powerful reality.
Jesus said that in perfect unity, the world would see that He was sent from the Father, and that the world will see that the Father loves the world much as He loves Jesus. We should all pursue this type of unity, because our lives should be about obediently impacting others to bring glory and much joy to our Heavenly Father. The power of God can flourish through the fruits of our unity, and His glory in us will overwhelm nations for Christ and His Kingdom.
I believe it is going to take a reformation. A reformation of what we have erected in our minds, our lives, our organizations, and a reformed outlook on what we call relationship and community. Basically it is time for us to get real, get authentic, repent, and get on with living lives that glorify Him. Two major ways to get there, Love, and get intimate with our Father, and love and serve others with no agenda but to love and serve. I am longing to see an influx of leaders who do not even think about what they can get, but what they can give.
And finally, can we try and move towards the things of Jesus the person, our Savior, our Brother, our Coach, our Model, our Life? Can we exchange our life for His? Can we all move to the center, which is Him and His Kingdom? In order to do this, we must stop creating and existing in the false centers of religion. We must begin to establish relational communities that are authentic, have no agenda, and establish a safe place where expressions or preferences take a back seat to love and serving one another.