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Diversity and unity

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“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” Acts 2:4 (NRSV).


Originally Pentecost was an agricultural festival in which the grace of God – as witnessed in the beauty and diversity of the harvest – was celebrated. The fruits of nature are full of colour, demonstrating multiform divine generosity. No two flowers are alike, yet we can distinguish between a rose and a daisy.

In the same way, when the Spirit descended upon the first harvest of disciples, the diversity was plain to see: the message of salvation had been made flesh and now was expressed in different cultures and languages. Even so, it continued to be the same united message: Jesus, God and Saviour.

Diversity and unity: both are proof of the presence of the Spirit of God. Both are necessary for the growth of the church. Both are God-given gifts. When we celebrate Pentecost, we give thanks to the Holy Spirit for these gifts that we experience within our global faith family.

César García, MWC
César García
is general secretary of Mennonite World Conference. He lives in Kitchener, Ont. This article was first sent as a public letter at Pentecost 2018.

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1 comment

Rick Block June 27, 2019 - 23:31

I like this article – it is succinct and yet leaves lots of room for the reader to contemplate its deeper implications. To me it seems we need to be intentional to dig into what unity means, because often the default is more related to uniformity, where all entities are similar. I might even go as far to say that unity does not exist without diversity, that it requires diversity. Not surprising our most effective examples of unity-diversity come from nature – sometimes I think the beauty of creation and the myriad of relationships and flow of energy may be prophetic in how one day we will be as a people of God – unified yet amazingly diverse.


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