By Alexandra E. Arnold
There are few and amazing times when we find ourselves willing to step out of our “life boxes” to worship with those who are look and act differently than us. One such amazing time took place recently at Pine Forge Academy (PFA) in Pine Forge, Pa. For the first time, students of both PFA and Blue Mountain Academy (BMA) in Hamburg, Pa., decided to step into a world where all are one and unified in Jesus Christ. Ironically, that was precisely the theme of the evening: “Unified in Christ!”
Although BMA and PFA are located within 30 miles of each other, they had never held a joint worship service. The service was designed to enable the students to bond with people who were not merely from a different school, but whom where also from different backgrounds and cultures. PFA is a predominately African American school, while BMA has a culturally diverse group of students. The unified service served as a catalyst for the two schools to bond in spite of cultural differences. It was filled with music representing various worship styles, skits, and powerful and thought-provoking sermons. During the service, all felt a spirit of togetherness.
Due to diligent prayer and planning, the event was a success. The goal to form a bond between the two academies was met, but far beyond that, a bond that will prepare all attendees for eternity was formed. Being unified in Christ is not something that is achieved by faith alone; it also takes work and effort. The students and faculty of BMA and PFA realized this fact and decided that they were going to put their faith into action.
The familiar text found in Corinthians 12:12 says, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.” We as Christians have so many parts, spiritual and physical. We come in black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and many other races and cultures. But regardless of our different parts, we form one body. This body is designed to work together for an ultimate goal and purpose.
The joint worship service was memorable, not merely because it was a spiritual high for a moment, but because it was an experience with eternal implications. Both schools are planning to worship again soon to continue building their new bond. In heaven we will all be one, “unified in Christ!” If that is how it will be in heaven, why don’t we start the process now?