- Exploding a Myth
by Rev Gary Heard
on the unity of His followers in Jesus’ final prayer has provided a significant
stumbling block for the ministry and shape of the church. Traditionally
interpreted, this passage has been the source of much oppression – limiting
the diversity and creativity of thinking within the church. Unity has been
mistakenly translated into uniformity. Yet consider the following:
the years, the church has often been seen to stifle individuality of thinking
and ministry under the cover of ‘preserving the unity of the faith’, forgetting
that in the original twelve Jesus chose a Peter and a John, a Judas and
a Thomas. Logic, passion, faithfulness and doubt were all represented.
of the sound of a choir or an orchestra stems from the chorus of voices
our instruments working together in harmony. Rather than all playing the
same note or making the same sound, the sound is richer for its diversity.
team is like poetry in motion when each member plays to his own ability,
and works in harmony with the others, following the team game plan.
are made stronger when woven together – polyester and cotton a much more
durable fabric than either alone.
works at its best when all viewpoints are allowed to be expressed and debated
to the full, thereby allowing the best decision to be made on the available
and families thrive when each individual is supported in expressing their
individuality, and encouraged to excel at the things for which they are
of the early christians by the surrounding community “see how these christians
love one another!” is born of a recognition of the diversity of the community.
about God is enhanced by our perspectives on Him as Father, Son and Holy
Spirit: in the Trinity we affirm that unity is born of difference, not
in spite of it.
Jesus prayed for the unity of the church, it was not a mandate to stifle
difference, but to cherish it – a call to express the rich colour which
is the experience of the love of God and faith in Jesus.
be a church which truly reflects the body of Christ – in all its diversity,
working in concert together.