It is no secret that we are living in divisive times. Today, we find divisions in the everything from family to work to politics. This is nothing new; in fact, we can find giant political divisions in the Bible! In 930 B.C., the once united kingdom of God’s people split into two separate nations: the northern kingdom called Israel and the southern kingdom called Judah. Why did they split? Taxes! (To learn more, check out I Kings 12.)
With tension and war between the two kingdoms, it was certainly a surprise when Hezekiah, one of the kings of Judah, decided to bring everyone together—including the “enemies” from the Northern Kingdom—to celebrate the Passover, the most important feast celebrated by the Jews.
This act of reconciliation was not a political move to earn Hezekiah more points in the polls. Instead, the Scriptures tell us that Hezekiah chose to invite everyone to this important religious event because “the plan seemed right to the king and all the assembly” (II Chronicles 30:4).
Here, Hezekiah exemplifies one very important truth: The preferences of God’s kingdom are greater than our personal preferences. Instead of brewing on centuries of conflict, Hezekiah realized that we are called to a greater work—a work of reconciliation and unification among broken people like you and me.
For the past ten weeks, I have had the privilege of serving as an intern with Harbor Churches. As I reflect on my experiences at this unique church network, I have been encouraged by the unity displayed by Fair Haven, Jamestown Harbor, Walker Harbor, South Harbor, and Harbor Life. While I expected to see a fortress mentality between each campus, I was pleasantly surprised to observe that each church shares God’s desire for unity among the network. How amazing is it that five churches can embrace being one church! Don’t take this for granted!
You see, churches are not buildings—they are people. You won’t be able to find the official “Harbor Church” building, but you will find Harbor Churches throughout the greater West Michigan area, each making their own distinct impact in our mission of helping people find their way back to God. As the apostle Paul writes, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
In a couple days, we will gather together at Camp Geneva to celebrate baptism—not as five separate churches but rather as one body, the body of Jesus Christ, the one who lived, died, and came alive for us to call us into new life. Life that is no longer divided but made whole and perfect. Then, the God who brings us together as one church sends us into the world to bring more people into relationship with him. Like Hezekiah, we break the walls that inhibit God’s work of reconciliation, because we understand that unity trumps division.
May the unity of Harbor Churches endure as God continues to accomplish his good and perfect purposes within us!
Church Planting & Worship Intern