One of the glorious things about God’s people is that we are made up of people of many different backgrounds, people who think in many different ways, people who have radically dissimilar personalities, people who are interested and passionate about a plethora of different things. At her best, the church looks like a beautiful mosaic artwork depicting Christ, with each unique and broken piece still contributing to a coherent united whole. But in our experience, that beauty is so difficult to achieve. Instead, we form our own tiny mosaics which all pale in comparison to what was meant to be.
And that’s what we see happening in the church around us — all of us want to serve God to the best of our abilities, all of us want the best for the church we belong to, and all of us are convinced that our vision for the church will bring us closer to that beautiful coherent mosaic artwork. We have divisions in church because we are different, because we see things differently, because we have difficulty understanding each other due to our different backgrounds and personalities. How should we deal with these differences, so that the beautiful mosaic artwork that the church should be isn’t broken and marred by these divisions caused by differences, but instead having the differences integrated into the beauty of the piece?
A common answer to the problem of differences is bulldozing — knocking over other people to get to the goal we want. Another solution is to argue with everyone until everyone else is convinced, or at least until they’re no longer willing to argue with you. And a third solution is to quietly complain to someone else, who then passes it on to another person and so on and so forth until the complaint has made the rounds of the whole church. But when we do any of these, we don’t get to the beautiful artwork that God intended the church to be. Rather, we birth a cheapened (or monstrous) version — one with many imperfections and badly fitting pieces, one that falls far short of the goal. It might seem obvious that only the One who can see all the pieces can see how to put it all together, yet we seldom collectively ask God for wisdom and direction. Which also makes me wonder: are we really seeking God’s wisdom, or are we convinced that our wisdom is sufficient? As we disagree, have we placed ourselves in God’s position?
A month ago, Dominic said in the pastoral message for that week that James has been a challenging study for him, because it has made him aware of how far he falls short of God’s standards. We’re nearly at the end of James, and I believe that this study has been no less challenging for the rest of us. Is our faith reflected in our actions? Have we elevated ourselves above the rest of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we really believe that God is God, and we are not?