“Will you please stop bickering!”
“Can you try getting on and being nice to each other!”

These sentences have passed my lips more than a few times and especially in the past couple of weeks as the kids have been on school holidays and have been stuck with each other for company.  So I can sympathise with the words of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians when he says:

“You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.” (The Message version)

I am not naive enough to expect complete harmony and no conflict ever.  In fact that is not my desire – I am not the conflict avoidant type (just ask Owen or the kids).  Nor do I think that Paul was conflict avoidant either but rather he wanted people to deal with their conflict and do so in healthy, loving and compassionate ways.  He asks that they “be united in the same mind and the same purpose.”  This does not mean that they all think the same . He is calling the people to unity not uniformity.  There can still be differences in opinion and expression but their fundamental mindset should be the mind of Christ and we see Christ’s mind through the cross.  Through the cross and the words of Jesus from the cross we see a mind of humility, a mind of non-violence, a mind of forgiveness, a mind of compassion and a purpose of reconciliation.  The way we express these can be different.

Still today the church is called to be of this mind and purpose.  We are to celebrate diversity within unity. We need to have the humility to allow others to teach us and accept other people’s ways are not worse than our own but different.  

This week I am reminded of another U2 song, this time “One”  This song was written by U2 when they were on the verge of breaking up.  A group of people feeling dissatisfied and hurt by each other but held together by the hope of reconciliation, the hope of love holding people together.  It is the story of community, the story of family, the story of the church.  Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Well it’s too late, tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We’re one, but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other
Carry each other

One, one

Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head
Well, did I ask too much, more than a lot?
You gave me nothing, now it’s all I got
We’re one, but we’re not the same
See we hurt each other, then we do it again
You say love is a temple, love is a higher law
Love is a temple, love is a higher law
You ask me of me to enter, but then you make me crawl
And I can’t keep holding on to what you got, ’cause all you got is hurt

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
Sisters and my brothers
One life
But we’re not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other

One, one

            Rev Tammy Hollands