They laboured throughout the darkness of the summer night. When the August sun rose over Berlin it glinted off 30 miles of freshly strung barbed wire. During the rest of 1961, the East German authorities reinforced this initial partition with concrete walls, watchtowers and machine gun emplacements. By the 1980s, the Berlin Wall extended 28 miles through the heart of the city and 75 miles around West Berlin, sealing and segregating the communist east from the capitalist west.
That is what walls do, they create hard barriers that divide this from that. In the context of people, walls separate and classify the crowd into ‘us’ and ‘them’. But Jesus tears down the dividing walls people erect and he replaces them with a united community of which he is the head (Eph 2:14-16).
This new solidarity is rooted in the oneness of God. There is “one God and Father of all” (Eph 4:6) and he has but one family. There is no place for dividing walls, no place for ‘us’ and ‘them’, no place for hostility or haughtiness in God’s family.
Jesus creates unity among family members, but he does not create uniformity. We have different backgrounds, personalities and giftings. Our unity in community is not based on our similarities, it is the result of our commitment to Jesus. He is the centre and as we move toward him in our spiritual journeys our solidarity with other believers is preserved and strengthened.
Let’s be real, our differences represent opportunities for discord and disregard. This is where the Spirit helps. His influence in our lives will guide us toward becoming more like Jesus in character and conduct. This transformation will alter and strengthen our relationships with other believers, particularly those who are not like us.
Let’s be practical. What can we do to maintain unity within the family of God?