Unity & Diversity in the Body of Christ
The theme for this issue is “Unity and Diversity in the Body of Christ.” The first reality that I would like to highlight is that from the get-go we are reminded that we are part of the same body. And (not but), as members of the same body, we serve different functions.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (CEV), “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve the same Lord, and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.” (CEV)
I like the way this version helps us understand a beautiful truth: We don’t all do things the same way. That is wonderful! Some of us don’t like that; we want everything done the same way, at the same time, etc., but that is not reality. As a former young adult director, I remember young adults asking to be a part of a worship committee, to help plan a beautiful, meaningful worship experience. Did they pick all my favorite hymns, no. Did they play every song using only the organ, no. But they were engaged, involved, and invested in the life of the Church. Praise God!
Another reality—I am a great deacon but not such a great greeter. My dad drilled into me two important things: never have debt and NEVER be late. As a greeter, I am not the best person for the job. Imagine having me greet people at church and after chastening them because they were late, telling them to have a “Happy Sabbath!”? However, I’ll be the first one at church every week, make sure all the lights are on, doors are unlocked and every pew has a hymnal and Bible in every rack. My wife, on the other hand, is the most loving person I know—she makes everyone feel special and loved. She’s a perfect greeter. Praise God for the diversity in our Church. We need it.
Paul went on to say, in 1 Corinthians 24-26 (CEV), “God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.” I love that! We are all equal, necessary and valuable—children, youth, young adults, adults and seniors. We need each other, with our individual gifts and talents, to come together, united as one body, but diverse in how we use our gifts for the building up of God’s Church.
Ola Joseph is credited with saying, “Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.” Southwestern Union family, let’s embrace and celebrate one another’s uniquenesses. Let’s continue to work together with greater passion to complete the mission Jesus gave us so He can come back, and we can go home!
By Tony Anobile
Vice President for Church Ministries