By Urbain Yombe
Christmas is approaching at full speed, people are thinking about the food we’re going to eat at and recipes are coming out the drawers. What is your favourite Christmas food? Do you know how it is made? Do you know the ingredients used to make it?
Mince pies are one of the most popular foods at Christmas. And these ingredients all go into making them delicious: plain flour, lard, butter, milk, salt, sugar, and egg (for the pastry); and mincemeat, tangerines, lemon zest and apple (for the filling).
When we look at the recipe, we realise that the tasty mince pie is made of many different ingredients and some of them are not edible on their own and others have a bad taste. But when all the ingredients are mixed together and baked, they give a unique flavour. Let us think a bit. If we make a mince pie without some of the ingredients and present it to people, would it be called mince pie? Maybe. But, would it taste like a traditional mince pie? I don’t think so. People will notice that there is something missing because the flavour will be weird.
Like a mince pie, we want to be a community made of people whereby each one has their distinctive identity and purpose, but made for each other; and when we are mixed together by God’s love and baked by the fire of the Holy Spirit, we become the food that God uses to feed and strengthen others.
The Bible gives us a good illustration of unity in diversity in the book of 1 Corinthians 12 verses 12-27:
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
You may be thinking that you are insignificant and don’t see yourself as useful for the community. Or you may be thinking that you are self-sufficient and don’t need anyone else. But the truth is that we are not defined by the way we feel and think about ourselves or what other people say about us; God made each one of us different with a specific and unique purpose. We all depend on God and need each other to be what we are made to be and achieve our potential.
Come and join us. We all need the talent and the gift God put in you so that together we can become a blessing to our community.