Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The famous poem declares, “No man is an island.”
We agree. We live our lives connected to other people.
Birth is the tie to families. Geography ties us to neighborhoods and fellow citizens. Similar interests, similar nationalities, and similar uniforms link us to others. So will shared dangers.
Those who have donned the uniform to defend a country share a common bond. The bond tightens under combat. The death of a fellow warrior can bind us together with a knot that refuses to loosen. We then understand the concept of the Band of Brothers.
Emotionally, if no longer physically, we expect to remain tied to such brothers until we draw our last breath.
Is war, then, the strongest bonding agent known to mankind?
Peace is stronger than war.
The greatest unifier is not circumstances or emotions. It is God the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul lists the “ones” that make up our unity. The holy Christian church is one body, even as there is just one Holy Spirit who has created faith in us to bring us into the kingdom of God.
We have only one hope: to be able to live forever in the joy of heaven. There is only one Lord Jesus. There is only one faith among all the different people who wait for the day of heaven to dawn. That faith grabs hold of the redemption Christ has won for us.
There is only one baptism that has washed us from sin and given us new life in Christ.
There is only one God the Father “who is over all, and through all, and in all.”
We are a united people. As the people of God, we are united with one another. We are united with the saints and angels in heaven. We are united with the Triune God himself.
The Holy Spirit has done this. The love and mercy of God has permitted this. The death of the Son of God has enabled this.
And what is the result?
“The peace of God that transcends all understanding.”
Where there is perfect peace, there are no divisions that separate. No jealousy, no anger, no disagreement!
If we have peace with God, as the angels announced, what can divide us against one another?
Sin can. Satan can. False teaching can.
The apostle warns: “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17).
We do have enemies who would rob us of our peace with God. Our fight is with them, not with one another.
Our tie is to one another, not to them.
Peace is the tie that binds us to God and everything good.
We treasure the words:
May the peace of God that transcends all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.