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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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April 18, 2012

What’s Your Hope for the Church?

Making it, so simply, a reality.

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With a U.S. presidential election coming up later this year, I’ve watched and listened to people—good Christians—take heated sides, claiming one or the other has the right way to lead the country. I’ve watched and listened as so many align politics with religion, living out the attitude, If you’re of a certain political belief, how much of a Christian are you, really? It’s seeped into our churches, dividing, causing suspicion, anger, and frustration. It’s slipped into our relationships with our brothers and sisters.

Over this past Easter holiday, I spent time reading from the Book of John. Jesus’ prayer in John 17, in which he prayed for us, the church, really convicted me: “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (vs. 20–23).

How many times have I questioned someone’s faith just because they didn’t agree with everything I believe? Forgive me, Lord.

How many times have I judged or said something unChristian toward a brother or sister? Forgive me, Lord.

How many times have I not prayed for, comforted, or helped one of my brothers or sisters in Christ because I was too busy to feel their pain? Forgive me, Lord.

My hope for the church is that we would rise up in unity—with full acknowledgment that we have many differences. That we would allow those differences actually to make us more strongly bonded. That we would practice daily the kind of love that sees one another as beloved creations of our Father.

I pray, I hope, I long for unity. In my own circle of friends, in my community, in my church, in my country, in the world. That is my hope for the church.

And it begins so simply. It begins with me.

What is your hope for the church? Our parent company, global media ministry Christianity Today, recently created a new initiative that encourages Christians to share their hopes for the church. Check it out and share your hopes too.

Related Tags: church, hope

Comments

Thank you for this article. I agree with you 100%. We need to be careful how we build walls against other Christians or we will find ourselves living out "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Thank you for this article. Unfortunately, in relationships in the church and with other churches their is so much competition, strife and contention. I see in the church I attend a spirit of fear that is causing people to control each other and the devastation this has brought to my church breaks my heart! So many people have left the church because of deep hurts inflicted by all of us in the church that think our opinion is more important than the person.

The last part of Jesus' prayer - May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (vs.23) rings in my heart and it seems that that focus ought to be the main reason for unity. Our disunity is costing the world eternal life with Jesus - wow! Do we get that?

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