Can you feel the tension between unity and diversity in this text? On the one hand, we read about the same Spirit, same Lord, same God, and common good. On the other, we recognize a variety of gifts, service, and activities. Like a string on a musical instrument, if the space between unity and diversity is wound too tight, it will break. If the bond between unity and diversity is too loose, it cannot make a sound. Only when the string is wound just right—when we find the right balance between unity and diversity—can we experience a beautiful sound.

Many of us tend to emphasize unity to the point of misinterpreting it as sameness. Others of us want to do our own thing in our own way, but only with people who are like us. Unity does not mean we all do the same thing, act the same way, sing the same song, or vote for the same political candidate. Unity does not ignore or minimize our differences for the sake of sameness. Unity operates at a deeper connection through the Spirit, which allows us to do and believe in different things and still belong to the same community. This deeper connection allows us to accept and appreciate the different gifts, skills, and talents that each person brings to the community.

We live in a world where we are so divided, especially politically, that many of us avoid diversity of opinion to the point of avoiding family holiday gatherings because we don’t know what to say when politics comes up in conversations. The Spirit of God can help us wind this tension between unity and diversity just right so that we can make holy music and dance together.

Spirit of God, come upon us and help us not to be afraid of conflicts that arise from our diversity; help us find the right tension through dialogue and understanding so that together we can be activated to do the work of justice, peace, and reconciliation. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 20:19-23

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Lectionary Week
May 25–31, 2020
Scripture Overview

Many contemporary Christians wrestle with the theology of the Holy Spirit. Some are perceived as emphasizing the Spirit too much, while others talk about the Spirit only vaguely or even not at all. Both extremes can mislead us. The Spirit is powerful and active, and we understand the role of the Spirit within larger truths about God and God’s activities in the world. God empowers the disciples on Pentecost by the Spirit, and the psalmist emphasizes the role of the Spirit in creation. Paul tells the Corinthians that the Spirit enables us to recognize Jesus as Lord and serve one another. Jesus gives the power of the Spirit to his disciples. May we also seek God’s help in receiving the power of the Spirit to serve and reach those far from God.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 2:1-21. What moments from your lifetime might you consider Pentecost moments? How have you seen the Spirit empowering God’s people in these moments or movements?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. When have you experienced God’s rhythm of withholding and releasing? How can your breath remind you of your place in this rhythm of creation?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13. How does your faith guide you to a tension between sameness and difference that might help you create a diverse unity among your family or faith community?
Read John 20:19-23. How does your relationship with Christ help you break through fear?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.