Apr - May 2019

Unity In Diversity

Barry Rodriguez

May 5, 2019

As the church, We are called to live as citizens of heaven to bring healing to this broken place.

So what does that healing look like? How do you walk the Path of Self-Giving Love when the "other" you encounter is from a different ethnicity than you?

Ephesians 4:1-16
4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 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, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. 7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift[a] through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say, "When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people." [b] 9 Notice that it says "he ascended." This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.[c] 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. 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. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Because we are meant to be one as the Church - unified in the Holy Spirit - we must live like it. It is our unity in love which helps the kingdom grow, but it is our diversity of gifts which makes us strong.

If we want the Church to be strong and mature in this broken world, to be "healthy and growing and full of love," as Paul says, the full diversity of gifts in the body must each work together.

Revelation 7:9
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, "Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!"

Grace will become an ethnically diverse community. Not to check some box of tokenism. Not to pat ourselves on the back. But to experience the strength and maturity that comes from all the gifts of the Spirit working together for the healing of this world.

It is our unity in love which helps the kingdom grow, but it is our diversity of gifts which makes us strong.

Grace Church: loving, diverse, and unified. One in the Holy Spirit and stronger than we could have ever imagined.

This is possible. And we will do this together.