One body - diversity, © Mark Hewitt 2015
Unity – together as one in Christ
The key message from Paul, the last sentence he uses a metaphor of a body.
This part of the letter to the Ephesians has three areas of emphasis.
- In the beginning, there is the image of the church as one body called by the one God (who embodies many in one – Creator, Redeemer, and Spirit), and the reassurance of hope that comes from this relationship with God.
- Then, there is the discussion of the grace and the gifts that each person is given, no one is excluded; but these are not gifts without purpose, they are given so that everyone will have a part to play in the building up of the church.
- Finally, there is the reminder that we are expected to mature in our faith, not continuing in child-like ways, and we are offered the description of the church as fully grown and fully functional in its Christ-likeness, linked and knitted together in love, as solidly as a body is knitted together by its ligaments. (Seasons of the Spirit 2018)
What does oneness mean? That we think speak and do all the same? Is disagreement or difference of opinion restricted?
We are to be mature, able to handle complexities, disagreements & differences of opinion. We are to have a robust understanding of oneness and to embrace the multiplicity of one God who is above all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:1-16 (NRSV)
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.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.Therefore it is said,
‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.’
(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would 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 all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Lord, make our hearts places of peace
and our minds harbours of tranquility.
Sow in our souls true love for you
and for one another;
and root deeply within us
friendship and unity,
and concord with reverence.
So may we give peace to each other sincerely
and receive it beautifully.
-©Seasons of the Spirit 2018