In Ephesians, Paul compares the Church, which is the body of Christ, to the human body. Christ gives a diversity of gifts so that members of His body can do diverse acts of service to build up the diverse body in unity in the faith and in the knowledge of Christ. In this way, each member gives strength to the others. My knee joints are decaying, but the muscles above and below my aching knees keep me running through my days. Without the diversity of its members, my body cannot function. Without the diversity of the body of Christ, the Church hobbles and onlookers miss the glory of God.
In case the limbs and ligaments of the body don’t grab you, Paul also compares the church to a building. So we — Black, White, Latino, Asian — are stones “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
I’ve seen the massive stones in the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Some of the similar stones used to build the temple weighed more than 20 tons. According to 1 Kings 6, “no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site” while the temple was being built. In the quarry, however, chisels, hammers, and iron tools clanged and clobbered to prepare the stones. Fitting them together so perfectly was a marvel; fitting us into a living temple is even more marvelous. We are in the quarry together, where “iron sharpens iron,” and sparks fly. God’s chisel and hammer shape us through the pressure and privilege of advancing the intercultural kingdom Christ died to create.
We are the stones Jesus spoke of in Luke 19:38-40, and — together, diverse and united — we cry out, “Glory in the highest!”