Diversity is part of God’s plan to make us one
If God had given you a choice of talents to be born with, what would you have chosen?
Or, consider this… If everyone/everything God has created was alike – same color skin, hair, eyes, same features. same ethnicity, same gender, same skill sets – what would the world look like? What would we be?
Conceivably, if that were the case, we could very well have a world filled only with doctors, teachers or (I shudder at the thought), only politicians.
Homes would be identical because we’d all have the same tastes. Each neighborhood would look like the next with the same trees, same landscaping, the same cars in the driveway.
Would there only be one type of animal? A singular thing to eat? I’d hate to think that might be liver!
How bored we would soon become with ourselves and each other!
Lucky for us our God is so smart. Diversity, in all forms, is the genius of God plan for creation.
In last weekend’s second reading (1 Cor 12:4-11), St. Paul explains that we are all born with different spiritual gifts; different forms of service. All these gifts are to be used for the good of the whole.
In this week’s reading (1 Cor 12-30), he continues his explanation that we are all baptized into one body.
“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
A foot doesn’t look like a hand. My eye has a different function than my ear. Or, as Paul says, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?”
“But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.”
Obviously, St. Paul is using the physical body as an analogy for the body of Christ, which is composed of each one of us, all meant to be an integral part of God’s most wonderful creation.
For me, at least, this reading calls me to reflect on the beauty of this diversity and to ponder God’s ongoing plan of creation.
In a world that has become increasingly distrustful of those who do not fit our molds, this whole concept of diversity is seen more as a threat than the great gift it was meant to be. In God’s infinite wisdom, God weaves this marvelous tapestry of “difference.” And it’s good. It’s what makes our world so complex, so amazing.
Each tiny speck of creation has a role to play. That’s what makes us part of the whole. We are the body of Christ and, just like a hand, a nose or a little toe, we all have a role to play in life. No matter how insignificant we might feel at times, how unworthy we allow others to make us feel, in God’s eyes, we matter and our absence would be felt.
In a recent daily reading from Living Faith, School Sister of Notre Dame Melannie Svoboda writes: “Though diversity is enriching, it can be challenging. There’s always the temptation to equate oneness with uniformity.”
Which goes back to the question I posed at the start of this column: Do we really want a world of uniformity? Our very differences are what make us one in the eyes of the Lord. This was God’s intention from the start.
Here’s another analogy. You sit down on a long winter weekend to work one of those giant 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzles. For hours you pour over the tiny pieces, searching for blending colors and the different sizes that will complete the picture.
As you draw near to completion, with just a scant handful of pieces left, you realize one piece of the puzzle is missing.
How disappointing! How incomplete the feeling! That one little piece among so many others is sorely missed.
St. Paul got it right: “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.”