Unity in Diversity
by Sir John Hargrave
There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.
- 1 Corinthians 12:12
I’ve always thought Paul showed a sense of humor when he wrote that passage about “many parts, one body” in his letter to the Corinthians. “In this body,” I imagine him writing in an early draft of the letter, “we are each a part. One of you, and I won’t name names, is a pain in one of my body parts.”
If you get to choose your part of the body, most of us would like to be the eye, or the mouth, or the heart. Few of us would choose to be the spleen. The gallbladder is not in high demand. Nobody wants to be the butt of jokes, much less the butt of the body of Christ.
Yet the spleen is a critical part of your immune system, the gallbladder helps with digestion, and the butt sure makes for some good sitting. They’ve developed specialties. All these weird little biological oddities come together to form one thing: the human body. It’s unity in diversity.
I’m a fan of unity, because I’ve seen that people are stronger working together than working on their own. But “unity” is not the same as “conformity.” To bring people together, we need to have a common purpose. Yet we can have spectacular variety within a church, a community, or a country.
My wife and I are very different people, but we work well as a team. America is a cultural soup, yet it works. Your church, I am sure, is full of the whole array of body parts, including the you-know-whats. Somehow it all comes together: unity in diversity.
The name of our denomination is the United Church of Christ. “United” is in the name. We come together, even though we are as diverse as they come. We do not have to agree on everything, except one: that we are one.
At this year’s Annual Meeting, we will be meeting as one. And our unity grows larger, as this is the first year we’ll be combining the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Conferences. We’ll also be holding a special vote on whether to combine these three conferences going forward.
This is a big deal. And like most big deals, there are diverse opinions on whether or not we should combine our three conferences into one. There’s one thing on which we all agree: we should meet to make the decision together, as one body.
The Annual Meeting is also a time to learn, network, laugh, pray, sing, and worship together. It is a time to join together as one, to celebrate the unity in our diversity. It’s worth your time. We hope that you – and all your body parts – will join us.
Click here to register for the Annual Meeting
, June 16-17 at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT. More details here
Read more about the Tri-Conference Annual Meeting June 16 - 17, 2017
Read more about the proposal for the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences to join together in forming a new conference.
Sir John Hargrave