09 Oct 2018
The membership of the church is very diverse. This means that we don’t all think alike, we don’t always value the same things, and we sometimes misinterpret the actions of others. Diversity presents a challenge to unity of the church. However, as we read Paul’s description of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, we find a surprise: diversity is actually necessary for the body to accomplish its task. Every individual who is connected to the body has their own part in the function of the church and must work together to achieve its mission. This has consequences for understanding unity. Unity cannot be understood as uniformity, where everyone says and does the same thing. Rather, every individual has their own part in the function of the church and must work together to achieve their goal.
Christ is described as the head of the body. Just as the mind controls the coordination between the hand and the foot or the hand and the mouth, so Christ the head controls the united action of his body. Any attempt to produce unity without his lead is therefore doomed to failure.
The image of the body also reminds us that we cannot expect unity to be automatic even though we are connected through Christ. We have fun watching as young children learn to coordinate their will and their muscles in order to pick up small objects or take their first steps. Even though a baby has all the right connections between different parts of its body, it takes time and maturity to learn how each part of its body can to work together to accomplish the activities that are necessary for life. In just the same way it can sometimes take time for the members of the church to learn how to work together to accomplish God’s vision for the church.
Spend some time studying what Paul says about the Body of Christ this week. Determine how you can best fulfill your role as part of the body as is seeks to work together to accomplish its mission.