As a psychology student in college, I learned the word, “gestalt.” It basically means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You can have flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, vanilla and salt—but it all tastes much better if you bake the cake.Spiritually speaking, gestalt is a term that could describe unity in a 1st Corinthians 12 kind of way… “For the body is not one member but many…” Whether foot, hand, or eye—the body, united and synchronized as one organism, is far greater than the sum of its parts.
United States… United Nations… United Methodists… United Way… United Healthcare… United Airlines… United Kingdom…
But unity in any context is rare. The human condition is fraught with strife and division. Think of all the countless arenas: tribal, racial, economic, ethnic, gender, marital, denominational, religious, political, ethical, generational, international…the list goes on. There’s always something divisive. Jokes that start with, “there are only two kinds of people…” show how trivial it can get.
Psalm 133 says that unity among God’s people brings a commanded blessing. Commanded means “an authoritative order.” Like—it’s going to happen…it’s a given. Here’s a great example…
Back in 1996, the Promise Keepers movement was in full swing. Our town’s local chapter hosted a monthly men’s prayer breakfast. One month, a big flap ensued because local organizers had asked a Catholic priest to be the speaker. Some men in the group objected. Unfortunately, that kind of attitude still exists. Yet many interdenominational Christian groups today believe there can be unity on essentials, freedom on non-essentials, and charity towards all.
PK national leadership instructed the local guys to go with the Holy Spirit. The local leaders in turn handed the microphone to the priest—a man known as Father Joe. That morning, men from twenty-two different churches came to the breakfast. The priest gave the kindest homily on God’s expansive love as a Father. The presence of the Lord descended like a cloud in the room, as men held hands and wept during the prayer time. True brotherly unity commanded a blessing—and a miracle happened.
In a sense, the rarity of true unity is in itself a blessing. But there was more…Continue reading