Welcome to our BONUS POST-EASTER WEEK of Daily Devotions!
Our last devotion for this year will be this coming Saturday.
I Corinthians 12:12-31
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
Ephesians 2:11-22 Jew and Gentile Reconciled through Christ
So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
I appreciate the ways in which these passages encourage us to recognize and celebrate our differences, knowing that it takes many kinds of talents for the whole body of the church, and in fact the world, to function.
It is not hard to draw parallels to the work done by the members of Lewinsville Presbyterian Church. The talents of our deacons and ruling elders, our children and youth educators and our adult educators, and our facilities managers and mission and service volunteers are different but complementary. They create the composite of God’s work in the church community. Consider a congregation comprising only one type of member and it quickly becomes obvious all the ways in which that church would atrophy.
Now that we have reminded ourselves of the importance of diversity of talents within our faith community, the second passage from Ephesians asks us to consider diversity and peace across faiths – a more challenging task for most. Although the passage is clearly about two prominent groups of that era ceasing hostilities, I think it would benefit us all to read this passage with an eye on the modern era. What if our faith in Jesus united us with others who are also God’s creation but may worship God differently? What if our desire to follow Jesus really impacted the way we treat people with different political beliefs or lifestyles?
This passage reminds me of the close of President Lincoln’s first inaugural address, and I can’t help but wonder if he read it at some point in his life and whether it indirectly informed his thinking about the bitter division in the country. “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
I pray that our faith in God and our desire to follow Jesus will lead us to see that we all are different parts of God’s creation. Amen.