Herman Edwards, the 10th head coach in Kansas City Chiefs history, is known for a number of things. He is an American football analyst. He played on the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons NFL teams from 1977-1986. He is also known for his “Hermisms.” One of these sound bite quotes is, “The players that play on this football team will play for the name on the side of the helmet and not the name on the back of the jersey.”
This quote carries a message similar to that given by the pyramids of the Giza Plateau. Much more than royal tombs, these pyramids represented the dignity and power of the kings. Building a pyramid was a national project which involved the whole country. Every home was involved. They sent workers, grain and food to contribute to the grandiose project which enabled the king to become a god in the afterlife. The capstone which was encased in gold signified the project was complete. At this time the whole nation celebrated. In a sense the pyramids unified the nation in service.
These two examples remind us that unity is built on a common purpose. People who have different backgrounds, talents and resources join together with a common vision to work together as one to see a cause accomplished. So, in Christ, His children are bound together in commonality. Paul says that we have “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph 4:5) In Christ, we are one in brotherhood and one in body.
By Dr. Gayle Woods
A man was about to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. Rushing to him, a Christian man tried to talk him out of his suicidal notion. “You know God loves you,” he said. Through tear brimmed eyes he responded, “You are a Christian?” The first man answered, “Yes.” “Are you Protestant or Catholic.” The first answered, “I’m Protestant.” “What denomination?” “Baptist,” he answered. “Northern, Southern, American, General, or Primitive Baptist?” he was asked. “I’m a Northern Baptist.” “I am too!” he exclaimed with excitement. “Are you Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?” “Northern Conservative Baptist.” He nodded approvingly. “Northern Conservative Fundamental Baptist or Northern Conservative Reformed Baptist?” “Northern Conservative Fundamental Baptist, Karl Ripley.” A smile welcomed the answer. “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern region?” “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region.” He sighed in relief. “Are you Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region council of 1897 or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region council of 1912?” “1912, the first answered.” In sudden anger the second cried, “Die, heretic,” and pushed him off the bridge.
The lesson in this story is that unity is not the same as uniformity. Two policemen can wear the same uniform and work at the same precinct and still be at odds with each other. Two women can have a passion to rescue animals and volunteer at the same Humane Society while having a deep hatred for each other. Being a child of God expects something different. The people of God are known by the fact that they not only love God but they also love each other.
By Dr. Gayle Woods
E pluribus unum is illustrative of something which should be an accepted understanding and practice of all Christians. This Latin phrase means “Out of many, one.” These words were adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782 as the traditional motto for our country. They also appear on the Great Seal. The motto, however, was never codified by law. As a result, it lost its place of prestige in 1956 when the Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto.
About 400 years earlier, John Calvin, spoke of this same concept. He realized that one of the Devils foremost strategies was to sow disunity, division, and discontent. He knew that if the gospel was to prosper the brethren would have to put aside petty differences and work together. He wrote of this in a letter to a trusted colleague: “Among Christians there ought to be so great a dislike of schism, as that they may always avoid it so fast as lies in their power. That there ought to prevail among them such a reverence for the ministry of the word and the sacraments that wherever they perceive these things to be, there they must consider the church to exist…nor need it be of any hindrance that some points of doctrine are not quite so pure, seeing that there is scarcely any church which has not retained some remnants of former ignorance.” 1
Jesus said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold,” and yet we are so prone to limit the reach of grace to “us four and no more.” If our group of Christ-followers are the only ones who are going to heaven there will be plenty of elbow room within the celestial gates.
1Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing, p. 107-108.
By Dr. Gayle Woods