If you and I were to meet at Braum’s, you might order strawberry and I might order mint chocolate chip, but we’d both be eating ice cream. We’d just taste different flavors of the same stuff. The same yummy, sweet, delicious stuff!
That’s kind of how I think about diversity in the Church, too – different flavors of the same really good stuff. You might look at things one way, and I might look at things another, but we’re both following Jesus. We’re just trying to live as faithfully as we can from our own perspective.
Several places in scripture, including this week’s text from James 2, remind us that followers of Christ are of one body, and should not show partiality. Romans 2:11 says is most plainly; “For God shows no partiality.” We are not supposed to show favoritism or divide the body into adversarial factions.
There is no “us” and “them” – we’re all “us.”
Nonetheless, there are times that faithful Christians do not see eye to eye. The way we handle that says a lot about us, probably even more than the idea over which we’re disagreeing. We can even disagree about some pretty substantial things; if we can do so with respect and love for one another, we’re going to be okay.
Getting ready for the work God wants us to do involves setting aside the earthly prejudices that we tend to carry. So a part of getting “revved up” for the race we have to run has to be getting rid of preconceived notions about others so that we can truly live as God desires – all us, all the time.
The most powerful symbol of this unity is the communion table, and this week in worship we will celebrate the sacrament together. It is a table that is open to all people, no matter what. All of those superficial things we use to distinguish ourselves one from another in this world are laid aside for a moment around the table of the Eucharist.
I’ll see you around the table!