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Seven-Day Practical Faith Blog: Two Ways to Unify



The history of Scotland suggests there are two ways for very different groups of people to come together.


Scotland is divided into Highlands and Lowlands. The Highlands contain rugged terrain and experience extreme weather, while the Lowlands offer a milder climate with plains, rolling hills, and fertile soil. The geography means the Highlands people tend to be ranchers with space in between isolated communities, while the Lowlands offers farming and closer space between towns.


Historically, the English-speaking Lowlands had a centralized government, while the Gaelic-speaking Highlands were ruled by fiercely independent clans. Even the ancestries of the people in the Highlands and the Lowlands were different.


With so many differences, how did the Highlands people and Lowlands people ever form a single country of Scotland with a common identity?


Scotland experienced two unifying forces that might tell us how we Christians can find common ground and fulfill Jesus's vision of loving unity expressed in John 17:20-23 (NIV), which I describe further in my book, From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone:


“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."


Scotland's two unifying forces were common beliefs and common enemies. The common beliefs came from Roman Catholicism when it arrived in the area in the fourth century. Although that denomination eventually gave way to Presbyterianism as the area's mainstream religion, the teachings of Jesus united the people of the Highlands and Lowlands.


The second unifying force, beginning in the eighth century and continuing for several hundred years, was defense against common enemies. First, Viking raiders caused the weakened Highlands people to accept the rule of Lowland king Kenneth MacAlpin as Scotland unified. Another threat was England, whose kings wanted Scotland. Robert Bruce (whose statue is pictured) led the Scots to victory in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, causing England to recognize Scotland as an independent state in 1328.


So common beliefs and common enemies can bring us together.


As Christians, we find ourselves far off from Jesus's Gospel vision of loving unity of all his followers. Like the earliest Highlanders and Lowlanders, we tend to focus on our many differences. But if we look for common beliefs and a common enemy (Satan), we can come together and fulfill the loving unity that Jesus desires for us.


What does this have to do with our seven-day practical faith journeys? Besides pursuing the obvious mandate of Jesus to achieve unity, we should look for common ground in order to strengthen the body of Christ. In addition, our own faith journeys can be disrupted by focusing on differences and making enemies out of fellow believers. When we focus on what unites us, realizing how much truly does unite us, then our own faith is enhanced, and we can be more effective workers for the kingdom of God as our purpose becomes clearer and our distractions dissipate.


Did you see my announcement video of the arrival of my new book, "Unison Parenting"? You can find the video at https://www.facebook.com/ceciltaylorministries/ . "Unison Parenting" contains great parenting advice based on experience and research but also offers a foundation of how to stay in unison with parenting partners while going through the challenges of raising children. It's available now at store.CecilTaylorMinistries.com.





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