“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” 1 Corinthians 1:10
“Join, or die!” This was the rallying cry of Benjamin Franklin as he exhorted his fellow American colonists to unite to battle against French expansion in North America. During the mid-1700s, the colonists were greatly divided, which opened wide the doors for French forces to overtake the English colonists’ land. However, Franklin’s urge for unity sparked revolution as the colonists joined together to fight against French expansion, and later, British imperialism.
Franklin’s push for unity proves to be a timeless piece of wisdom, especially in Christianity. While believers may not physically die due to discord, spiritual deterioration remains imminent when there is no push for unity. Unfortunately, the list of divisive matters in the church continues to grow, ranging from homosexuality to political party lines to infant baptism to displays of patriotism in the church building.
Don’t get me wrong. It is vital to stand for righteousness and it is not wrong to have opinions (even strong opinions) about specific matters, but we cannot let this distract us from glorifying our Heavenly Father and showing others the love, forgiveness, and saving grace of Jesus. As a whole, are we more committed to loving and uniting with others or proving that we are right? How are we displaying Christianity to those that are uninterested or skeptical? Ultimately, how can we fulfill the Great Commission if we are torn apart by disputes?
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the national mall in Washington D.C. on Saturday, July 16 to lift up the name of Jesus. Abandoning their differences, numerous denominations joined forces at Together 2016, proclaiming one united thought: Jesus changes everything. Many speakers and song artists were present, including Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias, Christine Caine, Michael W. Smith, Lecrae, and Hillsong. Together 2016′s website indicates the motivation behind the day: “The statistics of this generation are sobering; young people struggle with depression, self-harm, suicide, and addiction at unprecedented rates. But a call for hope is rising—the hope that only Jesus brings—to change our generation forever.”
The event was supposed to be held from 9am-9pm and divided into five sections: praying together, learning together, sharing together, loving together, and resetting together. However, because of the intense heat index in D.C., emergency services required that the event shut down in the late afternoon.
Other than unity, the main theme of the day was asking Jesus for a reset. A reset signifies cleaning out past errors in order to get the system working towards its created purpose. Thousands of people prayed and agreed together for a spiritual reset for our generation. They broke down denominational walls to “come together around Jesus in unified prayer, worship, and a call for catalytic change.” Even though the event shut down early, event initiator and evangelist Nick Hall reminded the crowds: “It was never about coming to the mall; it was about getting sent from the mall!”
To keep up with Together 2016 and unifying the body of Christ, consider downloading the Together 2016 app, which offers practical ways to pray, learn, share, love, and reset together.