I’ve never cracked an egg with a chicken inside. That would be a shocker if it occurred over a frying pan. But it’s been done by biologists with a fascinating result. In fact, it’s an experiment with a lesson. A biologist cracks the shell containing a fully developed chicken–not full grown as such a fully feathered creature would not compress enough to fit into an egg shell. The fully-formed fetus dies but some of its cells live on–including heart cells. From the tiny heart the biologist extracts a few muscle cells and drops them in a saline solution. Even though the cells are isolated from the body, each heart cell beats out an incessant rhythm. 1
The biologist nourishes the cells and they stay alive. When he gazes at them under a microscope, he sees each cell tapping out a rhythm approximate to the 350 beats a minute normal to a chick. But over the hours something astonishing occurs. Instead of five independent cells contracting at their own pace, first two, then three, then all of the cells pulse in unison. They’re no longer any independent cells beating out their own rhythm. Instead of five beats, there is one.
Why does this happen? It occurs because those heart cells sense an innate rightness about playing the same beat at the same time. Each heart cell has a sense of belonging that causes it to work in unison with the others. While they are each separate, they are also one.
As followers of Christ, we are each unique individuals. Yet, we’ve been called to live in unity. To function as one. On the night prior to his crucifixion, Jesus prayed for all of his followers–including future ones. That means he prayed for us (John 17:20-23).
Among other things, Jesus prayed for our unity. He asked that “all” future believers would be one as he and the Father are one. Jesus wasn’t asking for uniformity. He didn’t mean all believers should look alike, think alike and talk alike. Nor was he asking for organizational unity. One thing I’ve seen in my travels around the Unites States and the world is that believers will never organize their churches alike, worship alike, or have identical beliefs. Jesus wasn’t praying for that.
He wanted future believers to have a unity of relationship–like he has with his Father. Such unity rests on mutual love and acceptance. If we loved Christ and all who know him, we would never exclude a believer because of skin color, political persuasion or church affiliation. Instead of erecting barriers we would build bridges.
Make no mistake about it, such unity would change the world. It would be indisputable evidence that God dwells in us. Jesus said it would prove he came from God. And he said it would demonstrate something else. Something that defies human comprehension. Our unity proves God the Father loves us as much as he loves Jesus. Love unites the members of the God-head. And love unites believers. When we live in unity with believers of different color and creed, we reveal the supernatural love of God.
1.Fearfully & Wonderfully Made, Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1980, pp. 45-46.