Epiphany 5, Tuesday, Year B

Inspired by Acts 15:36-41 

“After some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Come, let us return and visit the believers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’…The disagreement [about who they should take with them] became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord.” Acts 15:36, 39-40 (NRSV)

Even among ourselves, faithful followers of Christ, we disagree. There’s so much work to do, so many ways to do it, and so many different abilities and perspectives within the whole body of Christ that there will always be differences of opinion regarding the best path, strategy, or approach.

And that’s OK. Unity in Christ does not mean uniformity. Being of one mind in Christ means being united in achieving Christ’s purpose, which is to proclaim the good news of the Lord. Exactly how we go about doing that is open to interpretation, provided we treat each other with the same love and grace we are called by our Lord to show to all.

Paul and Barnabas wanted to see how the people who had come to believe in the cities they’d already visited were doing. They disagreed about who should go with them. In the end they split up, each taking along the person they felt was the appropriate choice. And despite their disagreement, they both continued on their mission, united in the purpose of the gospel. Even though they never became of one mind on the matter, they both put the gospel mission first, and did not try to hinder the other from accomplishing it his own way.

Let us pray. God of unity and diversity, you desire us to be of one mind in you. Help us to understand that there are many ways to obey your will, that we may better recognize and appreciate the unique gifts and perspectives you have given to each of your beloved children. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.