The thing that has been rolling around in my mind this morning is all the contention I see in the world right now, especially in the church. Differences of opinion, doctrine, forms of worship are as old as time. Those differences aren't bad, in fact there's beauty in our collective expression of devotion. What IS out of line is strife, disdain, impatience and greed. When the heat turns up, these impurities rise to the surface.
Ephesians 4:2-4 says, 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.4 For there is one body and one Spirit...
Bringing people together from disparate backgrounds, experiences and points of view is a daunting task, let alone having those people function together as "one body." When I envision this body of mismatched parts, I think of Frankenstein's monster. What a mess!
God's plan is take our collective mess and make it something beautiful. I can't think of anything more beautiful in light of this current crisis than for God's people to be humble and gentle, to serve and stay united instead of pointing fingers and tearing eachother down. He gives us His Spirit to do that work in us, because in our own strength, we would fail.
Further down in Ephesians 4: 11-13 it says, "11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
So, in addition to God's Spirit working in us to bring unity, He has also provided people to help us grow in maturity: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers. Once again, the finished work of spiritual maturity cannot be completed within ourselves, in a vacuum. We need the ministry of others to teach, encourage, and protect us. Are we leaning into that model? Are we embracing the path to maturity and unity? Or are we digging trenches and participating in friendly-fire?
Christ is looking for a pure and spotless bride, not a Frankenstein. If we submit to his Spirit, and to those in ministry, He will heal the places of brokenness and make us whole. Maybe His vision for us is more mosaic or patchwork quilt than Franken-bride.