One vs. One: Which One Are We?

Corporate. Community. Union. Assembly. Congregation.

Words used in faith-based gatherings to refer to the the Church; the Body of Christ. While distinct in their own ways, all share a common element: the concept ofOne.

For suchOne-ness Jesus prayed in the Garden, "that they may all beone; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us" (John 17.21).

You know this. But have you ever noticed - even within this concept ofOne- there exist variations?

Look up the word inMerriam-Websterand two distinctions emerge: 1)Oneas a unionor gathering together of many parts to make a whole, and 2)Oneas a singular something with only one part - unique in its singularity.

An analogy would be a bucket of small rocks versus oneBIGrock. Lots of parts vs.onepart that makes the whole - complete in itself.

Which One Are We?

Asked another way, of whichOnewas Christ speaking in the Garden?

Certainly the union of parts - the Father, Son and Spirit who coexist in theTrinity, along with the many who coexist in it (or, as Christ said, "in Us.") Of such a union the Church also speaks to the Church, invoking Christ's prayer forOne-ness among its members buttressed with Pauline exhortations to dwell together in the self-same unity (Col. 3:14).

  • Practicably applied, what does this union look like?You and I (hopefully) share a common set of beliefs, mindset and purpose, within which we have our individual priorities, challenges and struggles. To each other we contribute our individual strengths and rely upononeanother to help in our individual weaknesses.(Eph. 4:16)

But could it be Jesus was also speaking of the otherOne? Scripture seems to. If this is true, then Christ was also envisioning a collective singularOne-ness for God's People - not just the union of parts that flows from a group of individuals who share a common bond and mindset, but the singularOne-ness of which Paul spoke where we are quite literally "onebody… and individually membersoneof another"(Rom. 12:5)that collectively has the singular one "mind of Christ."(1 Cor. 2:16)Contrary to union, this is a mode of existence where there are no distinctions, is no separate-ness and no individuality, but all who follow in His footsteps live in literal fact asone singularentity in Christ.(Gal. 3:28)

  • Practicably applied, what does this singularity look like? Literally (not figuratively), your joy is my joy; my success, your success; and your strength, my strength.There are no divisions. No separations. None. And no opt-outs. As goes one, so go all, just like with our individual body where the hand does not (cannot) exist separate from the wrist or the foot from the ankle.When this "whole body" is firing on all cylinders, it moves asonewith the singleness of mind and purpose for which it's designed (Eph. 4:16, 1 Cor. 12:14-26).

So, back to the question: whichOneis the Church? Is it union - with lots of folks in a room, each with a part to play? Or singular - there's only one person in the room, and it's us? The correct answer, of course, is that we're both. But to ask the question yet another way: on any given day whatcombinationofOneas union vs. Oneas singulardo wethink(and therefore act, speak and live as if) we are?Ahhh … perhaps there's the rub.One we'll explore in our next post.

What say you?