Believe it or not, Easter is just around the corner. The traditions I remember growing up are among my favorite. From the sunrise service to the breakfast that followed to the amazing celebration in worship to the family get-togethers that lasted through the afternoon, Easter has always been an extended family reunion.

But it is so much more than that. Our family has had reunions over the years, but our focus for gathering was simply because we shared a common name. That’s not a bad place to start. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:1, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ”; that’s the common name we share within the church. Our simple unity within the church begins at the point where we share Christ’s name.

But it is so much more than that. The unity we have goes beyond our name. Paul continues: “If you have… any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion”; our unity in Christ includes our common condition in Christ. We share comfort from God’s love; we share fellowship with the Holy Spirit; and we share tenderness and compassion among ourselves. Our simple unity is a matter of sharing the same “spiritual DNA” because of our individual relationships with God through Jesus.

But it is so much more than that. Our simple unity gives us a common purpose. Paul ends verse two stating: “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Our unity in Christ goes beyond the simple name “Christian.” Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are united by being forgiven through Christ’s blood; we are united by being transformed daily by the Holy Spirit; and we are united in a common purpose: to bring others into that same unified, transformational relationship with God. That’s something to celebrate!