Unity is not always easy, but God tells us it’s worth it. Together, we can be greater than any of us alone will ever be.
As you may or may not have heard, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement. Before this benchmark year in 1963, black and white Americans had been living among each other for hundreds of years but had never truly lived with each other. In 1963, a group of brave individuals decided to fight for the kind of unity God has in mind for us. It was a year that saw leaders like Dr. King and Rev. Abraham Woods take a stand.
Brave students entered de-segregated public schools for the first time under the watchful eyes of the National Guard.
At this point, your eyes might be glazing over. These are the dates and names you studied in high school history classes. By now, the message can sound like a broken record. But unity is a decision we make every moment of every day. The figures of the Civil Rights Movement are living memories that teach us how to approach the challenge with dignity and joy.
When white audiences of the 1950’s first heard Chuck Berry, some were angry, but, more importantly, some were excited. Music helped people transcend the bitterness that has plagued race relations for the past century. Miles Davis and his brief partnership with Bill Evans showed that racial unity could result in something remarkable. Music is powerful enough to bring us closer together, but only God is strong enough to keep us there.
To some people, unity sounds like conformity.
But that’s confusing artificial unity with the unity of God. Once we have grounded ourselves in the identity of Christ, we can let go of what scares us about our differences. Christian unity actually allows us to fully express and appreciate our differences – differences that arise from any number of factors, including race.
It’s our responsibility to those who came before us to continue to discover and appreciate each other, and God provides us with a common ground to meet on.