Given that in John 17 we get to listen in to Jesus High Priestly prayer for us concerning our Unity, it is interesting to me that we don't see this highlighted more in sermons, books, and prayers. The promise is clear: "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me", and the implication in the next few verses is that this desired unity points directly to God's Glory. That being the case, it is totally worth striving for, considering the enormity of what is at stake in our worship and in witness.
This was beautifully illustrated for 10 of us recently in the Bill Drake Band Tour of Germany, May 2010. For 19 days we toured Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. We diligently protected our unity in prayer, worship, devotion, and attitude to such an extent, that in all honestly, not once during the entire tour did any of us have a single argument, harsh word, or terse disagreement. The results were physically tangible.
No less then four times, were we encouraged by our varying hosts for our unity, our collaborative work ethic, and our obvious love for one another. Many times those who came alongside us to help with unloading and loading equipment, cooking food, or putting us up for the night commented about us as a team who demonstrated a "Christlike bond of love". This "witness" inspired them to take our message that much more seriously.
And as participants in something that God was obviously invested in, we all experienced His communion as well. When many of us fell sick to some food poisoning, we gathered together with our hosts and organizers, and had a healing service, and within 18 hours God totally raised us up. We were able to overcome numerous disappointments without even a murmur, and had the privilege of seeing people come to Christ, rededicate their lives to Him, or even make a dedication to world missions through our concerts. The stories are still coming in as to what God was doing in so many lives during the course of the tour.
And make no mistake. We are not boasting in any way. ALL glory goes to God. It is He that has called, and is faithful to bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5:24). And it is He that has stated that where the bretheren (and sisteren in this case!) dwell in unity, there He COMMANDS a blessing (Psalm 133). What a promise! And what a blessing we had in Germany to get a brief foretaste of it's fulfillment.
"Risks are not to be evaluated in terms of the probability of success, but in terms of the value of the goal". -Ralph D.Winter