He would go on to write: God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. (1 Corinthians 12:24-25)
This sense of oneness/ unity was and still is the mark of the people of God. The Psalmist would say of God's people: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (Psalm 33:1) The song writer picks on this truth when he writes: Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. (John Fawcett) In a world that has become increasingly divided, where darkness and destruction abound, the Church united stands as a beacon on light and hope, revealing that God has a better way to those who long to find what we have experienced in the Body of Christ. Therefore, we must do everything to protect the unity of the Church. Paul exhorted the believers in Ephesus: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
Paul's words remind us it takes effort to maintain unity; it often calls for us to surrender our own agendas and to put the interest of others ahead of our own. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Phiippians 2:3-4) In the world in which we live, this kind of selfless love and concern for others is counter cultural, but then the Church has always been called to live out a different set of values.
In this continued time of uncertainty, when so much divides us, we remind ourselves we are one in Christ. We choose unity over division, we choose to love and respect, even when, especially when, we do not see eye to eye, we choose a better way, we choose God's way. My friends at Valley, thank you for doing your part to cherish and protect the bond of love we share in Christ.
C.S. Lewis once observed...the church is not a human society of people united by their natural affinities but the Body of Christ, in which all members, however different, (and He rejoices in their differences and by no means wishes to iron them out) must share the common life, complementing and helping one another precisely by their differences. Though all different, we are all one in Christ! Paul reminds us, you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27) How blessed we are to be part of the family of God!