“I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 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 all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… We are to grow up in every way into… Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love… We are members one of another… Share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear… Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:1-7,12-13,15-16,25,28-29,32
I watched as thick seals lounged, stretched, pushed, plopped, hoisted, finagled, amassed together on a large buoy, barking at each other as they forged their own space and piled against one another. What a picture of God’s people playing the daily balancing act of working together to be unified: different shapes, colors, voices, personalities, and strengths, throwing and shifting weight around to ply together, to both weather and enjoy the ride of ever-changing times.
We are made for and called to unity, equipped to attain it, and urged to be eager to maintain it in the Body. God has united us in Spirit, granted us differing and complementary gifts, and commanded us to grow and strive together to build up each other unto maturity in Christ. Life’s conditions will constantly change, relationship seas may be turbulent or calm, weather from circumstances will vary from stormy to idyllic, but in the love and power of our Redeemer, with humility and a generous willingness to forgive, we can pile together with unified purpose and peace in a manner worthy of our calling.
Where am I lacking gentleness and patience? What drives me to prefer myself over others, and how can I begin to practice unselfish actions and conversation? Where am I holding a grudge or revisiting old hurts, instead of remembering Jesus’ mercy to me by extending it to others? Will I choose to swallow words that break down, that sting and stir dissension, and voice instead those that build up?
Lord, identify in me the areas where I disrupt Your intended unity in the Body, and remake me. Fill me with holy eagerness, and the will to match it with action.