In all our posting about unity, one thing is becoming clear to me: Christian unity does not mean uniformity. In marriage, in the church, even in the trinity, each part retains its own character and qualities; uniqueness is not lost or swallowed up. Instead, the individual parts together form something more than they are alone.
Maybe this relates to our different Christian denominations. My husband’s theory is that denominations are a gift, not a curse. Each tradition emphasizes different aspects of the faith. Some are very focused on the sacraments, others on missionary outreach, still others on holy living or manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and so on. We’re all probably wrong about some things, but we each have a place in spreading and maintaining the faith. We each appeal to or speak to different personalities; we can fulfill different needs. There are many things we can get together and do, and then there will be points where we have to differ and part. That’s okay.
There are a few things we do need to agree on. Paul described the fundamentals to the church in Ephesus this way:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6
As long as Christ is our head, we are part of the body. As long as the triune God is our Father, we are brothers and sisters. As long as the Holy Spirit calls us, we can serve together. We don’t have to be the same to be one.