This is the fourth post in a five part series inspired by the book of 1 Corinthians and my studies of that book. Posts appear here and on my personal blog. Read the previous posts in the series:
Oh, this Body.
The beauty of this Body.
The diversity of this Body.
Would this Body be as beautiful without all its diversity?
Would this Body accomplish much were it all made of the same two or three parts?
My heart shouts a joyful, “no!” This Body is beautiful because it is different. Because seemingly disparate parts come together in harmony and make beautiful music, create beautiful images of God for all the world to see and hear and taste and touch and smell.
But what about when we come together and instead of harmony there is dissonance?
A harsh word here, a doctrinal position there, and suddenly hands that once clapped together in joy are balled into fists looking to do some damage, and a mouth that once grinned ear-to-ear grimaces and spits words of hate. And suddenly we are at odds with one another. We are dividing into factions, planting churches that “do church differently,” and vowing we won’t be like those Christians.
But this Body is no different than it was all those years ago on Pentecost when tongues of flame first alighted on foreheads and Peter preached the first sermon as the Holy Spirit filled him up to overflowing.
The right hand might not speak to the left any more, but they are still hands connected to wrists, joined to arms that hang on the right and left side of the same body they always have. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
The fact that we are different does not mean we should divide into factions and attempt to manage the Gospel separately. And often we divide because we believe the division will be easier than staying together.
But what if it is not?
What if these divisions only ever make it more difficult?
If we were always and only ever supposed to work together, then how much harder have we made it by attempting to divide something that was never supposed to be anything other than a single unit?
Many parts, yes, absolutely, and of course.
But only ever one Body.
Does division make it easier or harder to preach the Gospel and live out your faith?
What makes you want to leave the Body, or to join up with a different part of the Body of Christ?
What makes you want to stay?