We tend to think that if we all look the same, walk the same, talk the same, and think the same that we have unity, however this isn’t unity, but uniformity. In our current church culture we’ve mistaken uniformity for unity numerous times which has lead to the erosion of unity between many differing members of our body. True unity, unity born out of love for the Father should distinguish us from the world, and how the world looks, walks, talks, and thinks. This unity shouldn’t cause us to discriminate against people within our body, but it should be reflective of a holy love; a love that is seen as unconditional, patient, and not out for its own gain. This is the kind of love that goes beyond the shallow end of uniformity and into the depths of unity. This kind of love unifies and sets us apart from the world in which we live.
Unity requires more than a uniformed effort centered around a popular cause. True unity calls us to move beyond uniformity, to join and partner with…not making the cause our mission, but to love and fight for justice with the people that are affected by the cause. This is our mission! This is a part the Gospel which is not accurately reflected within the body without the presence of unity between all of the members of the church no matter their race, gender, class, or gifting. If we lack the ability to partner with one another, how will partner with those who are not part of the body? When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about utilizing the many diverse members of their body, he was in many ways calling for unity. He realized their tendency to confuse uniformity with the presence of unity. Like us, the uniformity amongst the Corinthians caused them to devalue anyone that didn’t conform to their homogenous way of doing things. Likewise we continue to divide ourselves by our differences, and forget about the divine communion that we experience with the Trinity that moves us past uniformity in to unified action for the gospel. ” Now their are a varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and their are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and their are a variety of activities, but it is the same God that empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
Each member, no matter what may differentiate them from the homogenous group plays a very important role in the manifestation of the Gospel message, and how its communicated in and outside the church. Each member, and what they have to offer is valued and that value was not determined by us, but by God. We all were created in his image, to be one body with many differing members for a reason. Our mission to live out the gospel requires that we remain unified…unified with Christ and with one another. This unity between us illuminates to the world an impartial, unconditional love. Without unity we will continue walking in uniformity, devaluing the contributions of those who are different than us.