Does Unity worry you? Do you fear losing yourself? Does becoming one with Christ sound like (for Star Trek fans) assimilation by the Borg? Like becoming one big blob of spiritual mystery?
That doesn’t sound like the loving God I see in His Creation. Yet, how do we reconcile this portrayal in scripture of a place where the redeemed “will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). This place which will be absent many loved ones we knew but who did not come to trust in Christ? That place of unending praise – unending praise! Yes, some things about heaven can seem unsettling at present.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:11-12).
I remember being a child. I remember the great joy I took in a new comic book superhero adventure. I remember dreaming and imagining wondrous worlds in play with my homespun space dolls. I remember the care and attention I put into assembling model kits and painting them with great detail.
I have none of these treasures today. In fact now they mean little to me. Most were disposed of during my teens as other more maturing interests took my attention.
“…when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” (v.10)
Jesus likens His Church to a Body: Christ the Head, the Church the body, and each of us as believers as “members in particular”. What a perfect illustration: diversity, yet unity. Fingers, veins, kneecaps, ribs and countless other bits large and small all coming together in a functioning body with each part wholly involved in doing its bit, being fully fulfilled in doing it and all the while benefiting the whole body as well. But what’s more… soon this body will be United with its Head! Oh wonderful day! Now the whole of it will function so very well indeed! That is the Unity Christ desires… the Unity the Wise Head desires… and if we fully understood it it would certainly be the Unity, with diversity, For which the body also longs.
Does a transformation like that sound ominous? I should think not. As Alice’s caterpillar friend replied yesterday when Alice asked him if he didn’t think becoming a butterfly one day might not be unsettling, ‘Not a bit,’ said the caterpillar. Some transformations complete us. They are just as they are meant to be.