A few weeks ago, I spoke for the very first time at Youth on Sunday. It resulted in massive chaos; with people scrambling around and many others shouting at each other. I had given each group a task: be the fastest to piece together the jigsaw puzzle in front of them. What they did not know was that I had intentionally jumbled up their pieces with those of the other groups. Amidst the fun and chaos, the groups learnt a valuable lesson that every jigsaw puzzle is unique, yet it is essential in order to complete the whole puzzle.
The game served as an introduction to 1 Cor 12:12-13. Paul writes that “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” What is immediately obvious is that in just 2 short verses, Paul uses the word “one” 5 times.
The emphasis on the importance of being united could not have been clearer. So what does it mean for us practically?
Our Unity is founded on Jesus
Paul urges the Corinthians to stay united despite their different heritage. As Christ-followers, they were all baptized into the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Similarly, our relationship with one another should not be dependent on our background, or our likes and dislikes, but the fact that we are all brothers and sisters-in-Christ.
I have a friend whom I have known for 28 years. Externally, we share many commonalities: we attended the same schools, went into the same National Service vocation, and even entered seminary at the same time. However, we have few shared interests. It was not the love of basketball (which is his hobby), or outdoor sports (mine) or common friends that have kept our friendship going. It was our common love for Christ. Over the years we have shared many meals, studied the word together, and prayed for each other and for others as well. If it was not for Christ, we would not have kept in close contact over the years.
Purpose of being in Unity
While it is not so clear in this passage what the purpose of this unity is, the book of John records what Jesus had to say about the subject. In his prayer at Gethsemane prior to being crucified, Jesus prayed that the disciples “may be one as we are one”. The “we” here referred to God the Father, and Jesus the Son. He goes on to state the purpose of this unity.
“May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17:23)
If we use the analogy of the puzzle to understand the above, each of us in the church is a unique jigsaw puzzle. Each of us belong to the big picture and each of us has a part to play. No matter the giftings, or seemingly lack thereof, God has an intended purpose for every one in building up the church and in the Great Commission. Each piece will contribute to the entire puzzle. The pieces of the puzzle, when pieced together, will reveal God’s love to the world through Christ the Son.
Let us learn to love one another as family; to help one another, and serve one another. When we do that, we become one, just as Jesus prayed we would be. And when we are one, the world can see God’s love in us.
By Samuel Lin, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 3&4 February 2018)