I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. – John 10:16
Who belongs to the flock? Those that you see, certainly. But also those you cannot yet see. Just as there as sheep who reside within the pen, there are many sheep outside the pen. Jesus searches for those who have not yet heard his voice, those who do not yet belong to his pen.
Jesus plans for his church to consist of one flock, presided over by a single shepherd. He unites people across centuries, cultures, and continents. That is his mission: to seek and save that which was lost.
In his church, no member of the body is more important than the other. Each member is vital and necessary for the success of the body. This is God’s own design.
And yet in America we face a different reality. We live in man-made pens: entire cities, neighborhoods, and schools, which remain deeply segregated and disconnected from one another. Even the church stands divided, splintered along racial and ethnic lines. Though his church has one shepherd, there are many disparate flocks who remain apart and struggle to find common ground.
The early church, exemplified by the book of Acts, was ethnically and culturally diverse. Comprised of Greeks and Jews, Africans and Middle Easterners, Europeans and Barbarians, rich and poor, the powerful and the powerless. Yet they were one in Christ, united in diversity through his death and resurrection. Fashioning his church and calling us from every nation, he declared that the new citizens of his kingdom would be known primarily through one fact: their love for one another.
The pursuit of unity through diversity may take us to uncomfortable places. Love may require more than we are prepared to give up. Unity may require learning to see again through new eyes. Loving our neighbor may mean moving across town. But to go with God in obedience to his will and his word is the best possible choice. Heaven is filled with every tribe, every tongue, and every nation. So why isn’t his church? That’s what I hope to find out.
Thanks for reading,