Our last stained glass window for this series is a beehive. In Christian tradition, the beehive is symbolic of the unity that exists in the Christian church via the faith that we have in the Cross-crushing power which Jesus wields as He dies to rescue his beloved (also called the Church, the collection of all believers of all times).
Have you ever experienced this unity? It's an amazing reality that plays out in complicated environs amidst knotty relationships. This unity exists even when believers don’t see eye to eye on routine per diem events. This unity prevails across centuries and weaves through cultural diversity and melanin gradations.
One Bible teacher shared his own experience of this unity when he plodded off the plain in the far reaches of Africa. The climate did not match his home, his own attire was strange compared to the welcoming party from the local Christian congregation, and his speech was clearly foreign to all ears present. Yet in relief, he uttered, “Hallelujah [Praise to the Lord]” and the whole assembly repeated his praise BECAUSE they understood the faith from which it came and they had the same word, the same biblical truth, taught to them from their youth. “Hallelujah!”
There was instant unity.
I think of this today as I ponder the message for this weekend from Ephesians 4. Here are just a few verses to help us tease out some devotional thoughts for today:
From [Jesus] the whole body, being joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows in accordance with Christ’s activity when he measured out each individual part. He causes the growth of the body so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
We are already “held together”. And there is further insight into the progression of this unity. We are both “joined” and “being joined.” We are a work in progress. This indicates that we are allowed the experience of unity already but have much more unity to look forward to. This conveys, as the verse points out, that Jesus will be causing further unity to be obtained. We are not a finished product yet.
I find that insight to be an encouraging thought. It is promising for us to hear this because of the reality of our differences and disagreements. There are no two people who exist on this planet who are in 100% agreement with each other. Even husband and wife who have encountered 50 plus years together, still have points of disagreement. This is the human endeavor.
Verse 16 shows us that Christ is active in us as individuals and as a group, to function like a beehive. To accomplish his will and his work - he does this through the body of Christ, the Church. He has a plan to take disjointed groups of the Christian experience and connect them for a greater good. That greater good is the building up of the body and the maturation of its members.
[Prayer] Lord, give us the wisdom to know the truth of this unity and also strive, with your power, to be more and more unified. May your name be given glory in this unification process! Amen.