2021 Devotion Series Part 3: “Lifting Together”

Full Scripture Passage: Ephesians 4:1-6
Key Verse: “…bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Anyone who has participated in Rice & Beans Month over the years has probably noticed that words like solidarity, unity, and together come up a lot. These concepts took some hard hits in the past year! None of us would struggle to name many ways the pandemic has separated and isolated us. Yet paradoxically, it has also united us. From our next-door neighbors and closest friends to people on the other side of the world with whom we share no common culture or language… we have all been experiencing the pandemic together. Its heaviness weighs on each and every one of us.  

The passage above paints a beautiful picture of unity among believers in Christ. So let’s pay attention to what it requires of us. Verse 3 doesn’t say “breezing through easy opportunities to maintain unity.” It says “making every effort.” This year has laid burdens on us that are too heavy for anyone to lift alone. We can’t lighten them, but we can divide the weight. In bearing with one another, the load feels lighter. We are lifting together. Expending our limited energy to share the load is hard, but it leads us into the unity with others that our souls crave.

In our daily lives, we don’t occupy physical spaces together the way we used to. The ongoing toll of navigating challenges and losses leaves us feeling disconnected. Yet here we are, choosing to unite around a common meal and a common goal. Leaning in and lifting together. By God’s grace, may every effort we make to maintain unity with our brothers and sisters accomplish deep and transformative good, nourishing bodies and souls that are deeply in need.

Triune God, thank you for inviting us to into shared life and unity with others and with you. By your Spirit, meet us wherever burdens of division and separation are weighing us down. We know that lifting together is only possible in your strength. Thank you for being enough to meet all of our needs, and for sharing out of your abundance so that we are able to give. Amen.


For more exploration on unity, solidarity, and the theme of LIFTING TOGETHER (and the ways God lifts us!), here are some passages to reflect on this week:

  • Romans 12:3-21
  • Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
  • Psalm 146:1-10
  • Acts 2:42-47
  • Matthew 11:28-30

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