I read this Brian Zahnd quote a few days ago, "The unity of the Church isn't about speaking one language. (That's Babylon.) It's about one gospel spoken in many tongues. Don't shrink Pentecost to an individual spiritual experience. Pentecost isn't about individualism; Pentecost is about our unity in the Holy Spirit."
The words resonated deeply within me. My mind quickly went back to the 2006 movie, We Are Marshall. Matthew McConaughey plays the young Jack Lengyel who arrives at Marshall after a great tragedy that has cost the lives of six teammates. And from the great sadness of that tragedy, he builds a powerhouse team. We were all inspired by their unity as they chanted together, “We Are…Marshall.” One tribe. One team.
Listen to the words of the young Coach Lengyel as he inspired his players toward victory, “For those of you who may not know, this is the final resting place for six members of the 1970 Thundering Herd. The plane crash that took their lives was so severe, so absolute, that their bodies were unable to be identified. So they were buried here. Together. Six players. Six teammates. Six Sons of Marshall. This is our past, gentlemen. This is where we have been. This is how we got here. This is who we are…But I want to tell you something that they don't know: They don't know your heart. I do. I've seen it. You have shown it to me…You have shown yourselves just exactly who you are in here [Thumps his chest.] When you take that field today, you've got to lay that heart on the line, men. From the soles of your feet, with every ounce of blood you've got in your body, lay it on the line until the final whistle blows. And if you do that, if you do that, we cannot lose…How you play today, from this moment on is how you will be remembered. This is your opportunity to rise from these ashes and grab glory. We are..."
And the Young Thundering Herd respond: “Marshall!” Then Coach Lengyel says, “The funerals end today!”
I could hear Father God championing His kids through this passionate rally.
Many believers spend much of their time looking for the right church, the right tribe, the right group of people that speak their language. Many have missed the beauty of the incarnation of Jesus and the revelation of His father’s love that He brought into our world with Him.
Here we are, carrying the burdens of the world on our shoulders, weighed down by the cares of life. Deeply mired in the muck of the great sadness of tragedy, chaos and despair. Ruined by fear, mistrust and anger. And Jesus steps into our world and summons us into His huddle. “My brothers,” He says, “this is where we’ve been. Adam’s wrong choice is how we got here. This is who we are. But I want to tell you something they don’t know: They don’t know your heart. I’ve seen it. You’ve shown it to me…not the heart of stone, but the new heart. The heart of flesh that my Father created within you from the beginning. And as I’ve lived and breathed, I have shown you exactly who you are in here [thumps His chest.] For you and I are one.”
And the power of Jesus’ exhortation continues, “When you wake up every day, you've got to lay that heart on the line. Let love lead every choice you make. From the soles of your feet, with every ounce of blood you've got in your body, lay it on the line until the final whistle blows. And if you do that, if you do that, We cannot lose. In fact, We’ve already won. But how you play today, from this moment on is how you will be remembered. And they will know that you are My disciples by your love. This is your opportunity to rise from the ashes of Adam’s fall and grab glory. The funeral ends today. Live fully in the manifested fruit of resurrected living. You are a new creation in Christ. You’ve not known me as a Protestant, a Presbyterian, a Methodist, a Pharisee, a Bethelite, or an IHOPite. You’ve only known Me by one name: Son of God; Son of Man; Son of David. We are...SONS.
Through the unity of the Holy Spirit, true diversity shines. It’s not sameness Father desires. It’s oneness. Father’s love has been shed abroad in your heart that you may fully be who He created you to be. He’s not asked for one language. He’s not asked you to be a parrot. He’s asked you to live interdependently in fellowship and communion with Him, receiving His love and expressing the good news of that love relationship to the world in your own voice.
Liberace. Bruce Springsteen. Common. Chris Botti. Madonna. Earth, Wind & Fire. Tasha Cobbs. Kari Jobe. Lenny Kravitz. Bono. Kirk Whalum. Will Downing. Monet. Van Goh. Rembrandt. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Warren Buffet. Colin Powell. Felicia Murrell. [Insert your name here.] There is but one team, one tribe.
We are all clothed in His robe of righteousness; but we each get to wear our own name, live in our own skin and be our own expression of beauty. We each get to trumpet our own sound in the land. And this is the wonder of Pentecost. One accord, many languages. But the expression of Pentecost loses its vitality without the revelation of Father’s love. For truly in that revelation is the truth that I belong. No longer do I have to search for where I fit; I fit in Him. I am accepted by Him. He approves of me. From that place of belonging, I speak the good news. From the overflow of His love, I live the good news.
Share Your Thoughts: Do you have any tips on having oneness with those around you, not sameness? Has God spoken to you on this topic before? What has He said to you?
Together with her husband, Doug, Felicia has served in church leadership and ministerial roles for almost 20 years. Presently, they oversee Wise Counsel Ministries bringing transformation to both people and organizations and serve as elders on the board for The River Fellowship. Felicia’s greatest joy is loving people. With a heart to equip and empower others, her heart is to take people’s hand, place it in Father’s hand and leave it there. Felicia’s passion is to move people beyond random encounters with God as Father into sonship where they learn to walk as Jesus walked through the experience of Father loving them. Wife to one, Mom to four, Editor, Speaker, Life Coach, Felicia considers herself a jack of many trades, master of friend.