4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
How I ache to see it together, rather it appears at times to be a ship that is battered against the rocks, splintering and broken. Pieces that once belonged together stand in starch contrast to each other, trying to convince the on looker that they never once were part of the same vessel.
But a broken vessel doesn’t do it’s job very well. And a broken church doesn’t do it either.
How can one body be at odds with each other?
We have come up with terms that define who we are, what we believe and what is important to us. We have erected our faith statements to places of walls and gates instead of invitations.
One body – but we disagree on the functions. (Amos 2:11-12); (Ex: spiritual gifts)
One Spirit – but we can’t even agree on the role of the Holy Spirit
One Hope – but it seems we get distracted from this too often….
One Lord – but how do you worship your Lord?
One Faith – but is your faith ‘real’??
One Baptism – …. infant or adult…. immersion or sprinkle….
One God and Father of all.
And in all of this, there is a fear to talk about the validity of the other views. I have heard many times people breathlessly defending their position without acknowledging that the other side has a good point too.
What will it take that we stop defending our opinions and focus on defending the gospel? Is my love and fellowship with other believers so dependent on us agreeing on every opinion that it is worth the unity of the body?
It is painful to hear the evangelical brush off the Catholic because of their traditions. It is difficult to see the Orthodox perplexed at the protestants lack of reverence. It is hard to watch the conservative and liberal write off the other because they are either too corrupted or ‘way behind’.
Yes, it would be difficult to have everyone together in the same congregation, but I think there is a little more room for grace. And as Paul does in Acts 21, where possible and expected, uphold the law. There is value to being beyond reproach, but our one Hope is not in the law, but in the Gospel.