We often hear about “unity regardless….” The implication is that unity is to be preferred over agreement in doctrine or even true love. Such attempts at unity are superficial at best. Unity without truth and love is not unity at all. Truth without unity and love can be so harsh as to turn away people from the truth. Love without truth and unity is sentimental feelings only.
As the Christian Church began to grow, the disciples faced the issue of truth, unity, and love. Is it possible to maintain that? Perhaps that is the negative side of asking, leading to false assumptions and false claims. Rather, the disciples in Acts and Paul in Ephesians demonstrate the need and actuality of maintaining truth, unity, and love —in Christ Jesus.
This Sunday we continue to follow the Easter message through the early Church. In the Narrative Lectionary the last two weeks, we have read about Stephen (Acts 6-7) and Philip (Acts 8). God was moving the disciples from Jerusalem, to Samaria, and eventually to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)
One of the challenges for the Christian Church was what about Moses’ Teachings? Were they were required for non-Jewish people? Specifically, the question about circumcision arose: can someone be a Christian without circumcision? Today that may not be an issue, but it certainly was in the first century.
Church leaders gather in Jersualem to work through this conflict. Our text for this Sunday is Acts 15:1–21:
How did they deal with unity, truth, and love?
Do we have barriers that we think are important in order for someone to be Christian? But are they really tradition or sentimental demands?
Gather this week around God’s Word and Sacrament to hear, receive forgiveness, restoration, and new life. And let us walk in the unity of faith:
Ephesians 4:3 Through the peace that ties you together, do your best to maintain the unity that the Spirit gives.
Ephesians 4:13 13 This is to continue until all of us are united in our faith and in our knowledge about God’s Son, until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard.