Jesus wants us to “be one”. Towards the end of His earthly ministry the unity of His church was such a concern for Him that, in His great prayer of John 17, He asked God three times that we “be one” as He is one with the Father.
Two-thousand years later, His church is still struggling to reach this ideal. The good news is that we have an easy, weekly way to practice unity: congregational singing. When we choose to sing – even when we don’t like the song – we are choosing to practice unity.
Unity isn’t about liking what we are choosing to be unified on. It’s about accepting and moving forward as a body. When Jesus was in Gethsemane, He asked “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” This is the essence of unity. The acceptance of the work necessary to achieve the mission that we claim to be devoted to.
I feel a bit silly equating Jesus’s reluctance to suffer crucifixion with our choosing to corporately sing a song that we might not like, but baby steps eventually lead to running. Even Usain Bolt started with baby steps.
Let’s endeavor to move forward in practicing unity through corporate worship with the knowledge that God tells us that those who are faithful in little things will be given greater responsibilities (Luke 16:10, Matthew 25:23). Who knows where our faithfulness in “being one” during worship will lead us? We won’t know until we begin the practice.