“Jerusalem, which has been built—as a city;
one which has been joined together to itself.”
The actual city of Jerusalem is interesting in its layout. The city walls enclose multiple inter-connected hills and mountain peaks, which were joined as a single layout. Literally, it is a city that has been “joined together to itself.” And because of its geography, multiple walls, and internal access to fresh water, the Romans considered this city to be the most defensible city in their empire. Were it not for intense in-fighting and squabbling amongst rival factions, some have suggested that it would have been difficult for Rome to have sacked the city in 70 AD.
Once again I am going to make an intentional jump in comparison, connecting the city of Jerusalem to the institutional church—both being the place of meeting for the worship of the people of God. Assuming we can grant this connection, it is remarkable how similar the two can be. Churches are made up of people who come from various backgrounds of life: different economic strata; different levels of education; different experiences; different age groups; different cultural backgrounds, etc… People who might never socialize together were they left outside of the church are brought together within the church for the worship and glory of Jesus Christ. Jesus, himself, describes the church using the analogy of a body with all of its many parts—all joined together and interconnected for a single purpose. Like Jerusalem, the church has been “joined together to itself” in Jesus Christ.
Yet, to take the analogy further, how often we find ourselves divided within the body due to petty disagreements and differences. How often we find ourselves warring against the bonds that bind us together. How often the secular world is able to conquer the church because the church has broken down its own defenses and destroyed its own unity. Beloved, how sad it is that we are often guilty of doing the enemies work for them!
With all of the varied gifts and strengths that God has given to the church, the church should never find itself overcome by the world—her spiritual walls are too thick and her natural territory is too defensible. We should be able to stand strong against any onslaught that the enemy might bring in our direction. How often we fail. Loved ones, be reminded by the words of the psalmist—we are a church that has been joined together with itself; may we work to strengthen and encourage that unity, not to undo the strength we have been afforded.
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like that to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
“I am no longer in the world, yet they are in the world, and so I come to you. Holy Father, guard them in your name which you have given to me in order that they may be one just as you and I.”