By Reverend Vona Wilson, YMCA Chaplain
When you hear the word "unity," what do you picture?
Long ago, when John was on the island of Patmos, he received a vision from Christ. He wrote it down, and today we can read it in the book of Revelation
in the Bible. There is a moment in that vision when John saw something that we might call “unity.”
It is easy to forget this vision with all the disunity we see in daily life. Yet, within the YMCA, we see a diverse group of people in one place growing in spirit, mind and body. We welcome every person and treat every person as a beloved child of God. We know that on many days we may be the only person that takes a moment to smile, greet someone, and make sure they know we are glad to see them. And that one small, welcoming gesture can change an entire day. You might say we are taking a step towards unity in the world.
Embracing our opportunity to unify
We are not just sharing manners at the Y. We are also not checking ethnicity, color of skin, religious affiliation, status and position, gender, relationship status or any other thing. We are loving others as we have been loved. We are recognizing and acknowledging that God has given us a unique place in our community. And we—the staff and members of the Y—are creating an environment that helps people to experience the love and grace of God. There may be no greater time to embrace our unique position.
Our community needs us. Our world needs us. The people walking through the doors of our Ys need us. Jesus showed us how to respect all people, love radically, and serve without judgement. What an incredible opportunity we have together!
Catching the vision
Here's the moment of vision, as John writes it:
“I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb! All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals—fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing:
Oh, Yes! The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving,
The honor and power and strength,
To our God forever and ever and ever! Oh, Yes!” (Revelation 7:9, The Message)
But….but….but…No. There is no “but.” Our job is not to figure it all out. We are not God. Our job is to share what we have been given. And we have been given the amazing love, mercy and grace of Jesus.
The YMCA was started out of that love. Do we think God’s vision of unity is impossible? Maybe it is for us, but it is not impossible with God. Jesus taught, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Let’s pray together
Holy God, we are in such need of you. Open our eyes to see you. Open our ears to hear you. Open our hearts to be the loving presence of Christ on earth. We cannot do it on our own; but with you, all things are possible. Change us, teach us and mold us. We are yours. Let it be. Amen.
Learn more about the Y's Spirit and Mind Ministries
Growing in spirit, mind and body is the surest path to holistic well-being. The Y offers Spirit and Mind workshops, seminars and small group classes, including a group for those who are navigating the waters of grief. Let us help support your growth in physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health.