sexta-feira, 15 de maio de 2015

THE BLESSINGS OF DIVERSITY


For just as each of us has one body
with many members,
and these members do not
all have the same function,
so in Christ we,
though many,
form one body,
and each member belongs
to all the others.

Romans 12:4-5 (read 12:1-8) - NIV

 

Paul touched on a basic reality of our existence: diversity in unity. He cited the human body as an example. The body is one but has many members. He applied this concept to the church as the body of Christ. Paul speaks of the benefit of the diversity of gifts in the church and that each must develop his or her own for the good of everyone else. Variety strengthens the body and lets it develop to its fullest.

I would like to extend this analogy further: this body to which we belong is not only the church but the whole world.

Earth itself teaches us diversity in unity. Research shows that nature has evolved from the simple to the complex. It has shown that over 3.5 billion years ago life began with simple cells. Multicellular organisms began to evolve about a billion years ago. Since then, with the coming and going of global catastrophes, life has taken on increasingly complex and sophisticated forms. Humans are among the latest to arrive on the scene. We are part of and depend on this complex biodiversity system.

But tragically humanity is now reversing this rich diversity which it has inherited. With super population and industrialization, the environment (God’s creation) is being devastated. Thousands of living species are going extinct. The delicate balance established by millions of millennia of development is being systematically destroyed. We are destroying this very body of which we all are a part.

There is a great diversity of human cultures and this produces a countless variety of religions. Religiosity is part of our genetic makeup and in, one way or another, is almost universal. Spirituality is expressed in all cultures – each in its own unique way.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have a hard time accepting as valid the many expressions of faith that are different from theirs. Each one limits its own interpretation of God and of truth as being universal and unique. They want to convert everyone to be like them. Each one sees itself as the whole, isolated body of the people of God. It would be a tragedy if everyone were Christian, or Muslim, or Jew, or Buddhist, or Hindu, etc. The result would be stagnation and spiritual poverty. Each religion has its positive aspects and has something it can learn from others as well as share with others.

I consider myself as belonging to the whole body of humanity and that everyone is my sister or brother independent of her or his religion or lack thereof. We all come from the same universal womb. I seek to use my gifts in a way as to contribute to the welfare of everyone else, including the other species that God has placed here to coexist along with me.

 

ROMANS 12:1-8 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

A LIVING SACRIFICE

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

HUMBLE SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

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