God desires unity
SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 11
In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. [1 Corinthians 11:11]
In this world, there are pressures that divide what God intended to be united.
In this chapter Paul addresses the relationship between men and women, as well as between believers (as expressed in the church through communion).
He refers to the uniqueness of men and women, also expressed through different cultural, symbolic traditions (like head-coverings).
He refers to the differences between rich and poor.
But whatever uniqueness or differences exist, they should not separate us.
An overall theme in this passage might be unity in Christ in the midst of diversity.
Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. [Mark 10:9]
Jesus addresses the special unity between husband and wife, in the context of a discussion on the pressures that threaten to divide them (divorce, unfaithfulness).
He gives this warning about causing division where God desires unity; this is the same kind of warning in 1 Corinthians 11, especially in regards to the Lord’s Supper.
We may be different, we may face pressures and challenges, but do not give in to division.
Whether in marriage or the church – what God has joined together, let man not separate. [Mark 10:9].
Some reject Paul’s words about head-coverings as chauvinistic.
Others see them as God’s eternal law, and accuse women who do not practice head-covering of being disobedient.
Both miss the heart of Paul’s words – do whatever it takes in your context to enhance unity and resist division, to demonstrate equal concern for everyone [1 Corinthians 12:24-25]!
I personally do not see the head-covering practice described here as a universal law.
I do affirm the underlying idea about how my wife and I, though unique, need to be one, complimenting each other with our diverse gifting.
We are like different body parts, together in one body.
This is part of the body that must be recognized when we take part in communion.
The problem in the church in Corinth is that they were not affirming their unity, they were dividing based on social standing.
Those with food ate, while those without did not.
I hear in this passage a reminder and a warning to do what I can to enhance the unity of God’s family, despite our differences.
Lord, make us one as You are one!