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Mission Devotional - November 11, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Opening Prayer: How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It's like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, flowing down Aaron's beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It's like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that's where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. (The Message)

Scripture: Psalm 133:1-3

Journal: How do you define unity? How do you seek unity? What does it look like to live in community?

Reflection: What does living together in unity really mean? And what does that even look like? Does it mean that everyone agrees with each other all the time? Probably not. If that were the case, unity would only be about managing outcomes and controlling decisions, and I think it is much deeper and much more beautiful than that.

If I am really honest, I have to admit that all too often my definition of unity has more to do with everyone finally sharing my opinion about something. As long as it's going my way everything is great, but as soon as it heads a different direction I can get pretty defensive and insecure. That is definitely not unity. In fact, it seems like the direct opposite of it.

I think unity has more to do with who we are to each other and how we are loving than it does with who is right and who is wrong. It is a spirit among us, a spirit of love. It is a determination to be for each other regardless of the circumstances, and to stand with each other even when things are difficult. It is a commitment to love and serve each other, rather than a demand to be loved and served. It is a determination to operate out of love, rather than fear. It is about being compassionate, rather than contentious. It is about a desire to listen, rather than a need to tell. It is about having open hands, rather than clenched fists.

The image of precious oil being poured on the head is a great one. Each of us is a container of precious oil that was given to us - breathed into us at creation - to be poured out on those around us. Unity, therefore, is about each of us bringing that precious oil - our truest and best selves - to the body, without demand or manipulation (no forcing and no holding back in the words of Rilke) and pouring it out on the heads of those brothers and sisters we are living in community with. For it is then and there that God will bestow his blessing, even life forevermore.

So maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is, "What does it mean to bring our best and truest selves to the body and pour it out for love?" Maybe the answer to that question will help us to figure out what it means to live together in unity.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Vitaly and Oksana Voinov live in Moscow, Russia. Vitaly is working with the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) in Russia/CIS as IBT's director. IBT has been serving the non-Slavic peoples of the former Soviet Union for four decades by translating the Holy Scriptures - Bibles, New Testaments, individual Bible books, and illustrated Children's Bibles. Pray today for Vitaly and his family.

Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is committed to the evangelism of boys and girls through Good News Clubs, the Tennessee Valley Fair and any other means to reach the children of the Knoxville community. Good News Club is a ministry in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in schools, homes, community centers, churches, apartment complexes and just about anywhere the children can easily and safely meet with their parent's permission. Pray today for the families of the children that attend the Good News Clubs each week that they may know and understand the love of Jesus.

Closing Prayer: O God, forgive me when I come to believe that unity in the body is when everyone finally shares my opinion. Amen.