By Darlene Zschech
Darlene encourages us from a difficult time in her life to embrace Jesus and discover unity in our time of conflict and challenge. This article was originally published in 2014.
“We can dispense with uniformity if we possess unity: oneness of life, truth, and way; oneness in Christ Jesus; oneness of object and spirit—these we must have, or our assemblies will be synagogues of contention rather than churches of Christ. The closer the unity the better, for the more of the good and the pleasant there will be.” – Charles Spurgeon regarding Psalm 133
It’s hard for me to explain my passion for the worship of God. It stems from many life-changing encounters where the power and presence of Jesus has wonderfully interrupted my natural life … leaving me changed, challenged, and desperate for everyone to experience his great love. Music finally made sense to me after receiving Christ. And everyday I’m aware of his song, and its ability to express the inexpressible from the core of our being. I think this is also why I’ve never really made it my battle to haggle around the issues of diversity within the body that has traditionally brought division, as you would be surprised, where I have been during some of these life changing God encounters. You can challenge my theology, but you cannot take away or diminish the permanence and wonder of my personal experience. I love God’s Church. Her diversity is her beauty—ancient songs and styles woven together with modern melodies and musings all straining to give voice to praise that will never be exhausted.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” – Psalm 133
Again Made New
During this last six months where my body has been pushed to physical limits during chemo and radiation, and as my heart and soul have ached with questions that I never thought I’d find myself asking, I have to say that I love and appreciate the greater Church in a whole new way. Like well-appointed generals, there have been people of faith planted across this whole journey from every type of church imaginable, doing what they are born to do—bringing healing, encouragement, and solution every step of the way. My heart has been made so aware that the Church at prayer across all aspects of humanity is as vital as the air we breathe—prayers offered in faith, in song, in triumph, in hardship … and in unity. And interestingly, the songs I’ve clung to have not necessarily been songs that are the newest and latest, but songs that declare Scripture and hope, with strong melodies that defy denominational preferences. I have needed people and songs of faith around me, wherever they are from. It’s interesting to me the things now that I will not allow into my spirit, and how protective I’ve become of what I allow close to me. Through my recent life’s journey, every moment I’ve had the opportunity to talk about Christ and all he has done for us, not once has where or how we worship been an issue. We always come back to Who it is we worship.
God’s Glorious Array
If we were all the same and expressed our worship the same, what a sad reflection of our Creator we would be. His vast array of colors painted across the sky every single moment of every day should give us a hint as to his surpassing beauty, endless fun, and endlessly creative nature.
So back to his worship: every time our diversity or preferences bring fractures or cause others to take their eyes from Jesus and onto a meaningless display of immaturity, we need to re-think our practices. Lift up your eyes, look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Ask him for grace and understanding and a genuine love for others who display their worship expression in a different way than our own. When Psalm 133 says that where there is unity God demands a blessing, this blessing describes God’s picture of blessing, not ours.
Here’s to new days of his glory and power as we serve Jesus together.