Unity - Monday Musing, September 6, 2021
Unity – a word for togetherness or oneness; united or joined as a whole. Syndicated columnist Eugene Robinson, associate editor of The Washington Post, wrote a recent opinion editorial titled, “How to be a crisis president when crises don’t unite the country anymore.” Robinson outlines multiple issues facing the Biden Administration: Afghanistan withdrawal, cyberattacks threatening critical infrastructure, COVID-19 vaccination and mask controversies, and hurricane Ida. He argues that the political response previous administrations faced during times of crisis pales in comparison to how Biden is treated, opining: “Perhaps someday, this country will regain the ability – and the willingness – to unite at times of crisis and pull together as one.”
I’ve been thinking about unity this past week, particularly since there is much written about it in scripture. The Apostle Paul writes to the church at Ephesus, “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:1-6).
Paul writes to the Ephesians that the church is the body of Christ; believers should have unity in their commitment to Christ and their use of spiritual gifts. But let us not confuse unity with uniformity. In the political world, this point is an important distinction when we find differences of opinion. The key difference between unity and uniformity is the acceptance of differences – when there is unity, people tend to tolerate and accept differences, but uniformity implies that everyone is alike, so there is no room for differences. Thus, unity implies diversity; uniformity eliminates it. Unity springs from conviction; uniformity comes from coercion. Unity combines and includes; uniformity confines and excludes.
In what ways has this community of faith celebrated the variety of gifts that are present in our congregation? We are in ministry together. We come together to work toward achieving our Christ-given mission of making disciples and building a community of faith. Each of us has different talents and abilities. We are not called to be the biggest and “best” church out there; rather, we are called to be who we are, as members of the family of faith, to care deeply, and to do what we can, based on the gifts we have been given.
We are called to do what we do well for the building up of the body, to represent Christ in this community, to the glory of God. We are not – individually or even collectively – the whole body of Christ. We are simply one part. And what our one part does affects the health of the whole. Each of us influences the ministry in this place. It will take all of us, working together, to accomplish the goals that God has in store for us. With God as our guide, all things are possible. With that, I hope we can be unified. See you in church!