What Unity Is (and Is Not)


ImageToday is Unity Sunday. The day the Christian Church celebrates unity. It is as good a time as any for a redemption of the term.

First off, what it is not. Unity is not looking the same. It is not acting the same. Talking the same. Thinking the same. Believing the same. Unity is not about homogeneity. It is not about purity. It is not without compromise. It is not without give and take. It is not without passion or spark. It is not cold and lifeless. It is not free of drama. It not without tension.

No true unity implies diversity even as diversity demands (but does not mean) unity. It be unified means that a group of diverse things have come together in common cause or spirit.  It means heat and passion. It means tension. It means drama.

The picture of unity is not the church, however. It is our God. Our God who is three distinct persons held together in divine unity of purpose and economy. Our God is diverse. He is Father, Son, Spirit. He is the Son crying out from the cross to the Father. He is the Son being tempted but not betraying.

As God is love within himself, a diversity of works held together in purpose, so we in the Church are called to be small ‘c’ catholic: unified in diversity. We may not always agree on politics, or doctrine, but we are to be unified in love and purpose.

The call of God for this day is this. Can we stop calling each other names? Can we stop abusing each other? Can we stop implying unfaithfulness in others because they look different, or talk different or vote different or act different? Can we truly show this diverse and dying world, what living unity actually means? Can we stop talking about God and be like Christ?

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