Have you ever watched the film, “Inside Out”? It disguises itself as a kid’s movie. However, I feel that there is a lot to learn from this movie as an adult. There is one scene in particular that speaks to me.
If you have never seen the movie, I will do my best to describe the scene for you. Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong, (some of the main characters of the movie), are riding on the Train of Thought. While they are on the train, Joy knocks over two boxes labeled “facts” and “opinions.” When the boxes get knocked over, the facts and opinions get jumbled together. They try to sort them out. Joy starts to notice that they all look very similar. It is a struggle putting them back into their proper boxes. Bing Bong tells Joy not to worry about it because it happens all the time. They clean up the mess by placing the ideas that fell out of the boxes in whatever box they can; mixing facts and opinions.
I think about this scene in the movie and reflect on the words of Jesus found in the Gospel of John.
“I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, even as I’m coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one” (John 17:11 Common English Bible).
I wonder how often we allow our personal opinions to get in the way of becoming one with each other. The Greek understanding of being one is many parts making a whole. Jesus’ prayer in this chapter of John is that His followers might be one. One with God and one with each other. And even though they are different, together, they might be whole. And even though we are different, together, we might be whole.
Why is it important for us to lay aside our differences so we might be one? I believe that it is because Jesus asked us to complete His mission. The mission: to establish the kingdom of God here on earth. The work of bringing heaven into this world is hard. We need each other to accomplish this work.
The problem, as I see it, is that we (the universal church) end up fighting with ourselves over who is “right” instead of working together. We allow our opinions to get in the way of our wholeness. What our world needs right now is for us to be whole so we might live where justice, love, grace and peace reign.
Jim Barth is a pastor with First United Methodist Church.