Many Parts

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 

Just a quick look around Long Island (or even our one town!) will reveal churches of every kind. You can't go far without seeing a church. Sometimes, multiple churches are within a short walk of one another. 

Some people see this and despair that the church is divided and that Christians can't agree on anything; they see it as a problem. And while divisions among Christians are certainly a reality that can harm the mission of our faith, I think that there's another way to see the variety of churches in our world. 

We can see different denominations as fulfilling different functions. Roman Catholics are really good at maintaining traditions and guarding against unwise changes in the church. Methodists have a wonderful tradition of commitments to social justice. UCC churches are excellent at bridging divides between individuals and focusing on unity. 

In other words, each church as a role or part to play. We can't all be the same. God has a plan for each type of Christian and each type of church. We can remember that next time we pass a different church than our own.