by Kari Jackson

by Kari Jackson

Harmony: An interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative 

I’ve had the opportunity to visit several countries in the world while on mission trips. On each one of these trips, our group would partner with a local church in that area, asking how we could come alongside their local body of believers to support their particular mission. Although we shared the mission of introducing Jesus to the community, the method of how that would best be accomplished was not always something we would have chosen. I’ve filtered through a field of manure, ridding it of trash so that it could be offered as rich fertilizer for fields. I’ve spent days cleaning out abandoned water tanks so that a community could be gifted the basic necessity of clean water. And I’ve traveled up mountain sides in remote locations, being asked to “share Good News” with complete strangers in the middle of their work day. But no matter what the days would look like, our evenings would always end in a similar manner: people gathered together, around a table breaking bread, sharing a meal, and attempting to share a conservation despite the language barriers. Joy and laughter would fill the atmosphere. And unity of heart, mission, and mind were shared by all.  

I think this is the goal Paul has in mind as he pleads for unity in each one of his books. In that place where former strangers came together, with one mind and one mission, there was no room for comparison or competition. No place for self interest or divided opinions. And no time for “church hurt” to set in and steal our joy. Instead, followers of Christ, from very different parts of the world, celebrated what could be achieved as we learned to live “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (Philippians 2:3). And as we came together as one, we saw how there was great movement in the mission and power in our fellowship. 

Paul encourages us, as the Body of Christ, to pursue unity in spirit, mind, and love. As I studied the meaning within these different areas, I found it interesting that each of their definitions share one word in common: harmony, or harmonious. Harmony can further be defined as “an interweaving of different accounts into one narrative.” 

As different as we may be individually, our lives were designed to weave together into one powerful story; into one glorious narrative. A narrative that speaks of the redeeming work of Jesus and His desire to reconcile all people unto Himself. We do not need to seek uniformity in order to live in unity. Our differences actually remind the world that our God is creative, beautiful, and beyond comprehension. Your life has a “note” to play, a purpose to fulfill, within this family. And as we come together with our differences, in harmony, our stories come together for one greater purpose: to reflect the very nature and heart of God. 

And it all begins with worship.

In Philippians 2:1-2, Paul reminds us that unity should be the natural byproduct of a life lived in worship and remembrance. If we have known encouragement in Christ, we should encourage one another. If we have been comforted by Christ’s love, we should be comforting and loving. If we have known the peace and joy of living in fellowship with the Spirit, we should be people of peace and people of joy. But if our gaze drifts away from Jesus, and our minds become set on our circumstances and people, the opposite will become true of us as well. In place of unity, we will live in competition. In place of humble service to one another, we will be plagued with the constant feeling to measure up, to get ahead, and to protect ourselves. And in place of knowing peace and reconciliation in our relationships, we will become people filled with tension and discord. But the most tragic of all, God’s beautiful narrative of reconciliation and redemption will become fragmented in its display to the world around us. 

Isaiah 9:6b speaks of the glory of Jesus as it says, “And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Left on their own, each one of these titles given to our Savior are good and helpful in furthering our understanding of who Jesus is. However, when brought together, there is a depth to His majesty that is revealed. A portrayal of His incomprehensible nature that causes us to bow in worship. And likewise, I believe our lives can have a similar effect when we come together, in harmony. On our own, we can speak of Jesus. But together, we become part of one magnificent narrative, reflecting the nature, the glory, and the heart of our God. 

It begins with our worship. It begins with a remembrance of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for us. It begins with bowing to His worthiness, and finding unity with those who are bowing down with us. 

One Spirit: empowering us to live together. One Christ: who has made a way for us all to live at peace. One mission: to reflect the nature and glory of God to this world. One Hope: Jesus. One Body: The Church. One response: worship. 

One God. One Spirit. One Body. One Hope. 

Ephesians 4:4




 Definition from Merriam Webster 

Back to blog

1 comment

What a great description of unity! Well said!

Candice Shugart

Leave a comment