Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Holy Loving Diversity
Holy Loving Diversity
1 Cor. 12:12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Cor. 12:22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Problems within the Corinthian church continued to be revealed by the actions and reactions of those within the community. There were those who thought they were of greater worth within the community of faith than others. It's easy for that to happen when society treats some people better than others. We pay attention to the wealthy, the famous, the beautiful and the powerful. This would not have been unusual in Paul's day either, except that all of this was to change within the new kingdom. All of the barriers were to be destroyed and all members of the community of faith were seen as equals within the kingdom. The formula here is familiar...the barriers are gone between Jew and Greek, slave and free...and as in Galatians, male and female. Every part is to be treated with equal respect for every part is necessary for the healthy function of the body.
God has an amazing plan for his community within the new kingdom. This plan ushers in a new reality for all of his people in which we are all welcomed into the kingdom as children of the King. We have all become royal heirs within the kingdom and along with this comes great privilege and responsibility. The beauty of this new kingdom is a diverse body that works in harmony to fulfill God's mission here on this earth.
Unfortunately we can get can get caught in the same trap as the Corinthians. We can begin to believe that some people are more important than others. Lets admit it, it's kind of nice getting that special treatment from time to time. I have to confess that I really like it when I get that upgraded seat and I get to board early and enjoy a cup of tea while others are getting on the plane. At the same time it makes me a little uncomfortable. I've done nothing to deserve that kind of treatment and I am just as ordinary as everyone else on the plane.
The Enemy is hard at work trying to divide God's children. Don't you sense it? The issues facing the church today are huge and the pressure from the world to conform is event greater. The Enemy wants to split us up over political issues but we must stand firm and not allow it to happen. We may not agree about everything...for there is diversity in the body...but we can agree on the essentials and unite together to function as a whole body that continues to bring the news of transformation to a needy world. What the world needs desperately is holiness in the form of Christlikeness. This is not the time to lower the bar, but instead to raise the bar with an expectation that through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit we can be drawn into a relationship with God that transforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. This must be our goal. Anything that distracts from the goal is a victory for the other side.
Can you imagine an army of heirs being transformed into the image of Christ, united in God's mission? That is a powerful picture and one that Paul saw as possible. With God this is possible as we continually seek his face and may his body be bound together in holy and loving diversity.
Lord, may there be unity within your body. Amen.