I have written before about the theology of oneness, of all things dancing in perfect harmony with God, of the reconciliation into being in a unblemished relationship with the Creator of all things. I will try not to repeat myself here, but there is that chance. So please bear with me.
This idea of the unity of all is not any ground-shattering. One does not have to read the work of the apostle Paul for long before this idea becomes quite apparent. It’s like a 2×4 smacking you across the face. It really comes out in his letter to the church at Ephesus. Not only are we inundated with terminology of being ‘in Christ’ in the opening chapter of the book, but he also addresses the disputes between Gentiles and Jews, and instead, offers up that we are one in Christ. That we are all at the foot of the cross. That we were once all far from Christ. But now, Christ’s blood acts as a magnet to pull back all humanity (and the created order for that matter) back to God. In the book, this is all building up to the unification in the body of Christ that we read about in chapter 4. Here’s what he writes:
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
Paul emphasizes the importance of unity, of being one with one another which brings us closer to being one with God. But this idea might extend just beyond the here and now. What if this is a picture of heaven? That we are all one together? Where hideous labels such as Republican and Democrat, gay and straight, righteous and sinner, American and Mexican and African-American, Christian and non-Christian, conservative and liberal, etc., are cast aside. The divisive walls that cause so much dissension here on earth will no longer matter. It will be humans before their Creator. Where together, we, the dust of the earth, are bonded together by the blood of Christ and nothing else. Frederick Buechner has a passage from one of his books that epitomizes just what I am trying to get at in Paul’s writings:
To be really at home is to be really at peace, and there can be no real peace for any of us until there is some measure of real peace for all of us. When we close our eyes to the deep needs of other people whether htye live on the streets or under our own roof – and when we close our eyes to our own deep need to reach out to them – we can never be fully at home anywhere.
Buechner demonstrates in this summary the dependence we have upon others – God, humans, and all creation. When we fail to uphold those around us, when we fail to carry their burdens and meet their needs, when we fail to keep the peace or maintain the unity, we are spreading seeds of hell. And as followers of Christ we are called to help give shape to the kingdom of heaven here on earth.