Unity in the Body of Christ
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 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.” – Ephesians 4:3-6
Have you ever heard a great symphony orchestra play? What a wonderful experience… and what a great metaphor for the unity of the Body of Christ.
A great orchestra is lead by a great conductor. The conductor gives every musician a part to follow and leads them to a common destination. Every musician is highly motivated and committed to playing their part. No single part is any more important than another. It takes every part to make the music complete.
The musicians in a great orchestra are often very diverse. They might be from all over the world and have had very different experiences. Some may be male, others female, some young, others old. They play different instruments. Their musical parts differ from one anotherâ€¦the music that the trumpets are playing is quite different from the music that the violins are playing. Each part fits together to create the whole. There is tremendous diversity in an orchestra, but it is that very diversity that makes the music so wonderful.
Unity is achieved when a group of people are headed in a common purpose and common direction. Unity is not the same as uniformity; it does not require that everyone be the same. In fact that usually hinders real unity. Another word for unity is sometimes harmony, and by definition you need at least two different musical notes to make harmony!
The Church is very much like a symphony orchestra. It is incredibly diverse, but has an essential unity because we have a Great Conductor, a common score to follow, and a clear destination. And when the Church plays the symphony of God’s music with passion and grace it is a delight to the heart of a broken world.
The Apostle Paul calls us to, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). How are you doing at protecting the unity of your church? Are you playing your “part”, exercising your spiritual gifts to build up the body? Are you refusing to gossip, living clean with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you extending forgiveness rather than allowing bitterness to take root in your heart?
The unity of the body of Christ is precious. It was purchased at the price of our Lord’s life. Make every effort to protect it.
Bringing It Home
1. What are your spiritual gifts? How are you using them to build up your local church?
2. Are there attitudes in your heart or ways of behavior in your daily life that threaten or undermine the unity of your church? Confess them and repent of them today!
Lord Jesus, thank you for making me a part of your Body, a gift that was purchased on my behalf at a great price. Show me how I can make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in my local church. Shape my heart for obedience to you and for an extraordinary love for my brothers and sisters in the faith so that together we might serve you with our very lives. Amen.
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Burnsville, MN