Differences

Heart, Cord, Suspended, Love, Together
 

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”  Ephesians 4:4-7

Human nature dwells on differences; and if we spend too much time on the things that separate us – race, politics, opinions, personalities – well, we won’t like each other much, or trust each other or enjoy each other.  The Bible dwells on what Christians have in common.  Faith in Jesus makes us one body, what Scripture calls “the Body of Christ,” inseparably linked and inter-dependently designed.  We share convictions and values, concerns and goals; and we need each other.  We have the same hope and destiny – eternal life with our Lord – so we can encourage each other along the way there.  The same Lord Jesus saved us, loves us and leads us alike.  The same heavenly Father gave us our genetic make-up and provides for our needs.  One baptism unites us with our God and with each other.  ONE, ONE, ONE, St. Paul emphasizes.

But we aren’t clones.  Our fellowship is a composite of different strengths, gifts, personalities and interests because in God’s plan the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  God wants us to enjoy the diversity of his creation, to be for each other what we need, and to demonstrate for the world what love is.  God is about oneness, not fragmented lives and fractured relationships, not chaos and hostility.  He is about renewal and reconciliation.  He makes us ONE.

Maybe you think you don’t need that.  You’re strong and self-sufficient. . . and you’re kidding yourself.  Maybe you don’t want to appear insecure, or maybe you’re afraid of being vulnerable because you’ve been let down or taken advantage of in the past.  Maybe you’ve seen failures in the fellowship of a church, times when Christians weren’t there for each other.  But God was and God is; and in his Church God forgives the failures so that we can patch up shredded psyches and broken relationships and put this fellowship back together.  In his Church God strengthens us to be for each other today what maybe we weren’t yesterday.

We don’t do secret handshakes.  If you know anything about Lutherans, we don’t do a lot of holy hugs and wild worship either.  You can be who you are in this fellowship, no pressure.  But look around you the next time you’re in church.  This is family, brothers and sisters in Christ made ONE to do life together.  That’s God’s deal.  See, he is ONE, three persons in perfect unity.

PRAYER:  In this time of polarization and angry voices, Lord, we need you to restore a sense of loving unity. . . in the one place where that unity exists, your Church.  Lead us to see your gifts and blessings where others complain about problems.  Teach us to appreciate each other and the things that make us unique.  And when hurts and needs occur, move us to help, just as our Savior was moved to help us out of the condemnation our sins deserve and restore us to your fellowship with his life, death and resurrection.  Amen.


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