Before becoming a famous landscape photographer, Ansel Adams displayed real talent on the piano. At an esteemed party, Adams began playing Chopin’s F Major Nocturne. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t seem to get himself on key. He said, “In some strange way my right had started off in F-sharp major while my left had behaved well in F-major. I could not bring them together. I went through the entire nocturne with the hands separated by a half-step.” The next day a guest at the party wrote a review of Adams’ performance: “You never missed a wrong note!”
Very little separates a harmonious and melodic song from a clashing and torturous tune. One out of place finger can taint a musical masterpiece. So many parts must be in unity for a song to flow and be heard in the beautiful way it was intended.
Much like with music, religious harmony is difficult. This was a problem for the early church and continues to be so today (1 Corinthians 1). In almost ad nauseam fashion, many religious bodies are calling out for unity. A few years ago, former Israel President Shimon Peres proposed a “United Nations of All Religions.” One popular bumper sticker calls on religions to “Coexist.” Blogs, articles, and conversations across the globe so often center on this very thought. People want to be unified. This is all great, but how exactly can we do this?
God answer is this: “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
But wait, how can we “agree” and have “no divisions” and have the “same mind and judgment”? This seems impossible with so much religious confusion and diversity. The key is not to agree and be unified under my mind, your mind, or anyone else’s mind. The key is to be unified under God’s mind! In other words, obeying the commands God revealed in Scripture.
If we truly want to be united, then we must be united under God’s rules, God’s commands, God’s ordinances, and God’s love (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). Anything other than this divides us from the Lord (Matthew 7:15-23). If this means changes need to take place, then may we have the courage to put our religious pride and convictions aside to be united with the Lord.
Religious harmony is possible. Religious harmony would be beautiful. But religious harmony is only possible under God’s terms, God’s commands. Anything else is off-key (Galatians 1:6-9).