In 1994, Rwanda saw mass murders on a scale that has hardly been matched in modern times. Members of the Hutu tribe massacred members of the Tutsi tribe wherever they could find them. Members of the different tribes had lived alongside each other in peace for years but that did not stop the slaughter.
In the midst of this holocaust, 13,500 Christians gathered together in the town of Ruhanga. They were from many different denominations: Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, and others. What made them unique was that they were from both tribes: the Hutus and the Tutsis.
When the militia came to this town, they ordered the Hutus and the Tutsis to separate so that they could carry on their killing. They refused. They said that they were all one in Christ. Because of that answer, the militia killed all of them.
This is a tremendously sad story but it illustrates a more important truth. If we call ourselves Christians, then we are all one in Christ. Divisions that were life and death matters for these people in Rwanda did not make any difference to them. They chose instead to live and die for the proposition that Christ has only one true Church and we are all members of it.
Today we are living in a country that is deeply divided. It is almost impossible to have a conversation about political differences without an argument breaking out. We have divisions in our churches where one group hates the contemporary music and another group does not like the minister. We are suspicious of helping anyone financially because they might be gaming the system. Some people even oppose mission trips because we need to take care of ourselves—meaning the people right there in that church. We discriminate against any person who appears to be from the wrong country even though they may be a Christian.
Why can’t we remember that we are first, last, and foremost one Body and one Church? We are one in Christ and that should guide our reactions to everything we face. Not only should that help us love others in Christ, but it also should make us willing to help people in his name. Could I die for the name of Jesus? I don’t know. Can I live for Jesus right now and stress the unity of his people? I can without a doubt.