Focus 40 Day 17: Extreme Living through Connection
Prayer Focus: Pray for practical unity in the Body of Christ – 1 Cor. 12:12-13
Extreme Living through Connection
“CONNECT” IS THE THIRD of the five stated strategic values of the Church of God reformation movement. To us, this means “renewing our efforts towards relational connectivity and identity.” The primary outcome of Connect is united effort to love and serve one another within the Church of God as well as across the body of Christ as a whole.
From the beginning of creation, we were designed for deep, meaningful relationships. In Genesis 1:26, God, who himself exists in the mysterious relationship we call the Trinity, as Father, Son and Spirit, declares, “Let us make man in our image” (RSV, emphasis added). After placing the man in the special garden home created for him, God observes that “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18 NIV), so God creates a woman to be the man’s unique and special companion (Gen 2:21–22). Hidden among the details of Adam and Eve’s sin, in Genesis 3:8, we find the touching detail that God is in the habit of visiting the man and the woman personally to walk with them in the garden in the cool of the day.
Jesus did not set unity as an impossible ideal to be reached or as an optional suggestion for his followers. He said that relational connectivity would be our primary identifying characteristic: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT). For the Church of God, unity has always been one of our core values. In our self-proclaimed anthem, “The Church’s Jubilee,” we have joyfully sung these words about ourselves for more than 130 years: “We reach our hands in fellowship to every blood washed one.”
As we, the Church of God, read and meditate on the devotionals that follow, my prayer for us is the same prayer that Jesus prayed over the infant Church on the night before his death. May we “experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23b NLT). From reading and studying together, I pray that the Church of God will not only regain the kind of relational connectivity that is part of our core identity but that we will also set the pace for future unity within the entire body of Christ.
Rev. Mary Nichols,
Pulpit Supply Preacher and Seminary Student