Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13
Verse 13: We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body… and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
The church today is made up of many different parts. Paul uses the body as an analogy for the church. Our bodies have many, many parts that all come together to form a cohesive and functioning body. Within the body, each part is necessary and needed for the body to function at its best. So it is with the body of Christ we call the church.
When we look at the world of Christian churches out there, there are hundreds and hundreds of different denominations. As with all things, diversity is both good and bad. In most ways, our faith diversity is good and healthy. Diversity provided options and leaves room for personal thought and opinion and belief. If every single church were exactly alike, then it would not appeal to nearly as many people as our many denominations do. But diversity can also work against unity. It can be too easy to get caught up in our differences. And sometimes we do.
Verse 13 reads, “We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body… and we were all given the one Spirit to drink”. The key words in this verse are: all, baptized, one Spirit, one body. To me, “all” implies a high level of unity. No matter what our denominational preference, we should all, first and foremost, be Christians – Christ-followers. Christian first, denomination second. We are all “baptized” into Christ’s one body. We are not baptized into a particular denomination. We are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, into the universal Christian church. This work is done by the Holy Spirit alone. It is “the Holy Spirit”, not the Episcopal Holy Spirit or the Baptist Holy Spirit or … By the Holy Spirit. There is just one Holy Spirit just as there is only one God and one Jesus.
Yes, the body of Christ is indeed diverse denominationally, yet we are unified as Christians. May we rejoice as much in our unity as in our diversity. May we all focus on Christ and our common call to build His kingdom here on earth.