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Diversity can unify people in faith

The other day, I performed a wedding that included two toddlers serving as ring bearer and flower girl. The procession went as planned. Each bridesmaid and groomsman walked gracefully to the front. Then the toddlers came; the boy carrying his satin pillow, the girl, basket in hand, scattering rose petals along her way.

However, the ring bearer, noticing what the flower girl was doing, began picking up the scattered petals, returning them to her basket. Up the aisle they came, she scattering and he picking up.

As amusing as this scene was, it is an illustration of a dysfunctional church; one person busy doing their ministry while the other, out of misunderstanding, undoing what is done.

Scripture teaches that God equips each believer differently, to perform unique ministries within the church. As each person applies their gifts, the life of the church becomes an expression of diversity fulfilling a common goal.

When diversity is allowed, the church becomes unified. Yet, those who do not understand this attempt to restrict the activities that appear contradictory while promoting their own. Since one is not gifted in scattering flower petals, they believe no one should scatter them. After all, real Christians carry satin pillows. Scattering flower petals only makes a mess. As a result, the church becomes embroiled in conflict, wasting time and resources, while the world watches, turned off by our bickering.

Remember, God's ways are not our ways. What appears contradictory can be complimentary, even necessary, for the church to fulfill its common goal.

Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.