The other day I received an e-mail wondering what the round object at the top of our new sign represented. The object in the circle is a mosaic, the graphic mark in our new logo. It represents the bringing together of the diverse, maintaining this diversity while also producing a unifying beauty by coming together. It is a picture of what we would like to champion as a community church. There is a rich diversity in our neighborhood whose beauty is magnified, and not diminished, as we appreciate these differences while also committing to unite around our shared vision and mission.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12
The Bible is full of metaphors when it comes to describing the church – the bride of Christ, the fellowship of believers, the family of God and the flock of the Lord – including the word-picture Paul used in the passage above: the body of Christ. There is such diversity in the human body: sometimes there are subtle by valuable differences as we see in looking at our hands and our feet; sometimes there are profound and amazing differences as we see in comparing our eyes and our spleens. The description of the church as the body is one of immense diversity expressed in perfect unity.
As a human race, we are the epitome of diversity and unity. We all have different gifts, talents, passions, experiences, abilities and temperaments. We all have different upbringings, ethnicities and traditions. We all have different occupations, hobbies and schedules. Our external appearances come in innumerable shades and shapes and our internal dialogues are as unique as snowflakes. Surrounding all this diversity, however, is a core of commonality. We all love our children, feel pain when we are hurt and cry at funerals. We all wonder about what is beyond tomorrow and when it will get better. We all have questions, often the same question, about significance, safety and strength. We are all so different and all so alike.
The question, therefore, becomes where to place our focus. Do we accentuate the things that unite us or the things that divide us? Let us take our lead from the scriptures:
“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Colossians 3:11
This is not saying that there is no distinction among people, but rather that the church is called to make no distinction among people. Every community of Christian faith is meant to be a place where the factors that describe us are not what define us. Our identity is found exclusively in our relationship to the one who perfectly designed us. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you can find unity with others in Christ. That is the meaning behind the mosaic.
In the days and months ahead we, as a church, will be exploring avenues to make what our sign portrays a reality. If you have ideas or suggestions that might help in our pursuit of unity amidst diversity, please let us know.