I love to take an early morning walk with Max; the earliest the better. When the sun is first coming up and there is still dew on the grass, there is a great peace that embraces you. The sweet melody of birds chirping is so beautiful. This morning I heard a chorus of different birds chirping together. I spotted cardinals, blue jays, hummingbirds, robins, black birds and others. They came together in one song, one voice that was pleasant to my ears.
As I finished walking home, Max and I continued to hear these birds. I thought of Romans 15 – I considered the harmony we are to live in, and the voice that we are to sing with together—with one voice. These birds were different types of birds, all different sizes, all different voices. They gather together in harmony this morning to have their morning meal and sing. It was so peaceful to my ears.
Paul spoke of us living as Christ desired, in complete harmony together. He wrote, “Then all of you can join together with ONE VOICE, giving PRAISE AND GLORY TO GOD.” We each sound different. Some of us are altos, some sopranos. Some of us have raspy voices, others can reach high pitches. Some of us use our voice to express different opinions than others. Some of us speak loud; some of us are quiet spoken. But Paul says we can all unite together with one voice. How? Through Christ Jesus. God gives “patience and encouragement” to us. It’s possible. Too often we spend our time trying to argue our stance, trying to be heard, trying to be seen, trying to make a point. It should all be about Jesus. If we each make it all about Jesus, and we gather together with the same heart for Jesus, then it doesn’t matter if we are from different denominations, different backgrounds, different cultures—it doesn’t matter our opinions, how we dress or anything else. Only Jesus matters. And with one voice, may we sing. May we sing praises to our great Father.
“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” – Romans 15:5-7 [NLT]
On September 13, Australia had celebrated a day that is known as R U Ok?Day. RU Ok?Day is actually a national day there, and it’s held the second Thursday of September. This day is focused on building awareness of people– asking people if they are okay and being genuinely supportive. Too often we overlook our fellow man and neglect to see the struggles they are going through in life. Sadly, some people are hurting so badly and would feel so much better if someone would ask the simple question, are you okay? My family has personally been affected by depression and suicide. It is the sad, but all to real truth.
I remember so many times in life when I was going through a tough period and did not feel like I could talk to anyone. There is the fear of judgment, the fear of rejection, the feeling of hopelessness and lack of support, and a sad road to depression. Sometimes a person simply needs to have support– but it seems like support is hard to come by and then there is the feeling of being alone in the world. I know; I have been there. People need people. God made us to need community.
As Christians, we are never alone. God is always with us. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit so no matter if we are in our car driving along the highway, in the middle of a park, or at home all alone, we are never truly alone. Even so, there are times when it seems as if the world is crushing down upon us and we do not feel like we can handle it. It is at these moments, we really need a hand to reach out to us. The Bible says we are to be there to support others. We are to help the poor, to encourage our fellow Christians, to teach, to share, etc.
Today might be a good day for you and you may be feeling just fine. At the same time, the person next to you might not be doing so well. R U Ok?Day was created to encourage people to ask other people if they are okay. Perhaps you are not from Australia or it is not even the 13th of September where you are located. Even so, when you come upon the next person wherever you may be, ask them if they are okay. Not simply to ask and pass by quickly. Invite them to answer. Be the support that you wish to have on your worst day. That person may need it more than you will ever know.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:23-25 [NASB]