Unity and diversity
Yet so it was from the beginning, even in the glorious first generation of Christianity, when the physical eyewitnesses of Christ walked in power among us.
Indeed, in today’s first reading (from Ephesians 4), we hear the mighty Saint Paul the Apostle begging people to work and pray well together.
St. Paul is here speaking not only to the Ephesians, but to us as well: to us in our respective communities and sub-communities, denominations, churches, parishes, congregations, movements, councils, committees, and most especially to us in the blogsphere.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord,
beg you to lead a life
worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
with all lowliness and meekness,
forbearing one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace.
Our fundamental unity in Christ needs to be primary and pervasive.
There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called
to the one hope that belongs to your call,
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of us all,
who is above all
and through all
and in all.
A fundamental threat to that unity, even in Paul’s day, has been an assault on the clear diversity of functions given to individuals within the Body of Christ for the sake of the Body of Christ: assaults sometimes camouflaged by some hot button issue du jour or by false egalitarianism.
But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift....
And his gifts were
that some should be apostles,
some prophets, some evangelists,
some pastors and teachers,
to equip the saints
for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
until we all attain
to the unity
of the faith
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to mature manhood,
to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;
so that we may no longer be children,
tossed to and fro
and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the cunning of men,
by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.
No, we must not let ourselves be tossed about by the winds of controversies nor by the storms of our own emotions.
Rather, each of us - in whatever way God has given us - each of us must do all we can to build us all up within the Body of Christ.
Rather, speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up in every way
into him who is the head,
from whom the whole body,
joined and knit together
by every joint with which it is supplied,
when each part is working properly,
makes bodily growth
and upbuilds itself in love.