“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12.
The human body is a complex organism composed of various parts that each have an indispensable function but work together harmoniously as a whole. Though each part is distinct in shape, size and function, they are all essential to the human body. No part of the human body works in isolation; each part does its job, day and night, supported and aided by other functioning organs. Diversity is not an accidental attribute of the body; this was a part of God’s divine plan when He created us. We cannot look at our bodies and not marvel at the God who created this phenomenal evidence of His love.
The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that the church is also a similar complex living entity made up of many members working together under the guiding power, the head of the body, Jesus Christ. What is encouraging is that, like parts of the body, each of us is different. None of us perform the same function, yet we each possess a distinct, unique gift that is essential to uniting the church and helping it accomplish its mission in spreading the gospel. Diversity here is also by God’s design and is necessary in the body of Christ. Unity in diversity, and diversity in unity, is the arrangement that produces the best results in the body of Christ. We need to work harmoniously with God’s purpose and objective to accomplish our mission for His honor and glory.
What does the unity of the church look like practically? The question is ever more pressing as we live in an increasingly troubled and divided world. However, unity in the church is about embracing our differences. It involves acknowledging that we are only strong if we work together and not independently. Unity in the church is not guaranteed; as with any successful team, we have to do our part and work arduously at building, connecting and maintaining this unity. Phil Jackson, one of basketball’s most successful coaches, once said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Most importantly, Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
As we begin 2022, I want to encourage us to continue to grow in faith and strive towards deeper unity. Our churches are in need of consecrated, “unity-minded” members, not divisive members, who are willing to work together to build God’s kingdom. May 2022 be a time for unity and oneness, not only for our individual churches, but for our conference as a whole.
By Lee-Roy Chacon, President