29th March 2020

Unity Not Uniformity

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11 (NKJV UK)

If you have children you have probably said: “I don’t know where she gets that trait; it must be from you.” One child has great athletic ability, and another hates all sport. One child likes to read and avoids crowds, and the other has no interest in books but enjoys a good party. How could these children have the same parents, yet be so different? This diversity within a family is a small example of the diversity we find in the church.

Greeks, Romans, and Asians all lived in Corinth, and this diversity contributed to a ‘factious’ or contentious spirit in the church. The Apostle Paul appeals to them: “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NRSV).

Paul cuts through their disagreements to the bottom line—be united in mind and purpose. And that’s how we handle diversity within my family. My wife and I agree on certain absolutes and show this by making allowances for differences. For example, I love the beach. But when we go on holiday, we try to include activities which are important to each person in our family. We honour our differences; everyone has a good time, and the family is unified.

Likewise, in the church, we hold certain truths as absolute, such as God’s great love for every human being. Yet we can “agree to disagree” about minor matters which are often shaped by experiences and history. We don’t browbeat people into feeling they have to change their opinions to be loved and accepted. We see the church as a family, and we focus on our unity in Christ. Even Jesus did not try to change the opinions of those he encountered. He set the example that being human makes every person valuable and worthy of love. The Corinthian example shows us that unity doesn’t need uniformity.

Prayer
Gracious Father, we all differ as personalities and people. May we be unified through your Spirit yet retain our individuality. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study presented by Heber Ticas

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About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ ( https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Heber Ticas is an Elder in Grace Communion International and is the Superintend of the Churches in Latin America. He also serves as the National Coordinator for Church Multiplication in the United States.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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