One of the undercurrents of Paul’s writing is the struggle with unity. Within new, blossoming communities, it didn’t take long for differences to overwhelm the community. There were debates about who is most important, who had the best spiritual gifts, who could have first rights to the communion table. Simply put, they forgot about the beautiful path that was called “The Way.” Paul had transformed along “The Way” as he set about grand visions of persecution.
Read Acts 9:1-9. In a moment of suddenly awakening, Paul (Saul) is blinded by the light of love and hears the voice of Jesus. The first part of the passage has Paul seeking to persecute ‘the people of the Way’ and the voice makes a profound statement that in doing so, you persecute Jesus. For all these ones are a part of Jesus, the whole. Or, in the language of St. Patrick’s prayer, “Christ within us!”
God has created all that is. It is a core tenant of our faith and our hope. And I’d dare say that God has not made any mistakes (well, mosquitoes might make the cut )! There is a tapestry of life woven throughout the creation and when we declare one part is better, or worse, than another, we are either elevating one part to a place of superiority or we are oppressing another part. This experience of Paul’s, on the road to persecution, ends with the call of God to go and transform the world. And this is the story of us—we awaken to the voice of God and begin a new journey toward unity and wholeness. Simply put, that was the goal in the Garden of Eden, the invitation in the Law, and the embodiment of the Christ in the person of Jesus. And now, it is our invitation to strive to live in unity, amidst the mosaic of creation!