Our of Many, Make One
Well, I love the church (local church). I love the Church (established in Matthew 15). I do think the church can stand to be a bit more like what I like about Star Trek. I studied this quite a bit in 2016, because frankly it was a tough year for me. The cultural tensions in the church seemed more pronounced than ever. It broke my heart to see groups of people I knew loved Christ, lived it, taught it, suffered for it; in passionate disagreement with each other. Even questioning the Christianity of each other. How can this be? How can the unique characteristics of our groups, divinely given by our loving Father, bring such hostility toward each other?
I dove into the Bible. The overwhelming thing I found was that God valued what he created in me as well. His desire was for it to be used, in unity, with the rest of the body.
John 17:21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
Jesus prayed for those in him to be One. He further defined it to be as he and the Father are One. This is a high standard to achieve. So high, that Jesus took his precious time to pray about it before he was crucified. Our being One was on his mind in his final hours. He did not take it as a given that we would be One. He specifically prayed for God to give unity to us. He knew how difficult it would be, it’s not in our nature after all. I also am struck by the why; “so that the world will believe you sent me”. Our unity is connected to belief in the Christ. It is such a wonder that it will be a hallmark of who Christ is. That significantly up-levels the impact of our unity in Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[a] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
When I read this passage for the first time, I had the first glimmer of hope that my Star Trek model, as imperfect as it is, was perhaps closer than I would dare hope. I have a son born with a severe heart defect over 16 years ago. In those years, I have learned a lot about the human body. God is amazing. His creation is phenomenal in many ways. The human body is designed for every unique part to do it’s special task. However, God has made so many redundancies in the body that when a body part does not work as it should, other parts around it try to help out. Some of those parts become warped and reshaped out of their function to over-compensate for something that is not happening as it should. It does not take too long before there is a huge dysfunctional component of our body. Amazingly, we can still walk around with this hot mess going on inside. That is how well we are made. When all of our body parts are functioning as God intended, we flourish. Adjacent parts don’t have to pick up the slack. They can hum along doing exactly what God intended them to do. We tend to focus on the function of these parts, but in reality they are designed vastly different as well. Some work fast, some slowly. Some are highly interactive, some function with more independence. Some are more visible, some stay hidden. Our God has knit them all so perfectly to work in harmony, but gracefully allows a lot of leeway to still function in a certain degree of disunity. His desire, however, is for unity and harmony.
Ephesians 2:14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
We don’t have to unify on our own. Christ has given us this peace. He has changed our nature and broken down our natural hostilities. We do have to allow him to work this miraculous transformation in us. It is not natural. We are tribal by nature. We are attracted to people like us. To accept and honor the God given capabilities of someone opposite us, takes the heart and mind of Christ.
God’s Kingdom is so much better than the world of Star Trek. In his Kingdom, all of his creation will live in harmony with each other. The qualities of Himself that He has handed out to different peoples will be treasured and valued for the unique abilities He intended that they have.
By: Janet Richards
Part 1 “E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, Make One” appeared first in our June equipHER Newsletter on June 1, 2017.
Janet is married to the handsome Colin and mother of three (Janeen, Jason and Jada) living in Redmond WA for the past 7 years. Janet and her family attend the Redmond Assembly of God congregation where she serves as a deacon board member and lay leader of the First Impressions Team. She has been so thankful to join equipHER and leads a local and online group this year.
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