The Words of the Cooper Family

Unity is the measure of our love and the source of our joy

Simon Cooper
March 18, 2013

Hak Ja Han -- May 5, 2011

Here are some of my notes from a message about what unity is NOT and what it can be, from Sunday 17th March.

You can watch it hear or read the notes below:

The reading is from 1 Corinthians 12:12-26:

12-13 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts -- limbs, organs, cells -- but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain -- his Spirit -- where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves -- labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free -- are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. 14-18 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong to this body," would that make it so? If Ear said, "I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. 19-24 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn't be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, "Get lost; I don't need you"? Or, Head telling Foot, "You're fired; your job has been phased out"? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way -- the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it's a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? 25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

The great thing about asking questions and being constructively critical about one's environment, is that the logical conclusion is that one starts to ask questions of oneself.

And I found myself as I prepared for our bit of local group worship asking myself some tough questions.

I want to speak to you about unity today, how it is not our goal but an experience that results from sharing in a common cause.

Context of next 7 year vision:

We have crossed over the Jordan since foundation day, which was an occasion not just relevant to the Unification Church despite us being the only people aware of it. We have crossed over into a new era where God is able to be fully present.

Do you believe that the messiah has the power to prophesy? He spoke about an era that would emerge. But as you know with all the prophets their vision required a response from the people.

So what is going to be our response? An enlightened one, a mature one, a responsible creative response? I hope so.

But if we are going to move towards 2020 successfully, we will need to plot our course intelligently. We will need to ask some questions.

"All mission nations should unite with the selected strategic nations and Cheon Il Guk Special Envoys, and take action with life-or-death resolution while fully committing themselves to bring rebirth, resurrection and eternal life to the people of each nation with Jeong Seong." Rev. Chang Shik Yang (What planet is he living on?)

When you are told you should unite what do you NORMALLY do? And is the intended commonly desired goal achieved?

What will make the next 7 years different from the last 7?

There's a bit near the end of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 when Yossarian explains that he is no longer interested in the war effort and is not willing to die. It won't change anything, he reasons, because the war is essentially over. "From now on," he tells Major Danby, "I am thinking only of me."

Danby gives him a superior smile: "But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way." To which Yossarian replies: "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?"

Francois Fenelon was the court preacher for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the preacher. King Louis demanded, "What does this mean?" Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the king."

What we seek is love, not unity for its own sake. A sincere love that naturally leads to deep bonds of unity.

Jewish interpretation

"Whenever love depends on some selfish end, when the end passes away, the love passes away; but if it does not depend on some selfish end, it will never pass away... Which love did not depend on a selfish end? This was the love of David and Jonathan.

"Anyone who establishes a friendship for access to power, money, or sexual relations; when these ends are not attainable, the friendship ceases... love that is not dependent on selfish ends is true love of the other person since there is no intended end." 

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