The Unity in Community 

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Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10) 

The 5th Century Syrian monk who is now called Pseudo-Macarius comments on how unity might be maintained in a Christian community. He is of course talking to monastics about a monastic community, but there are plenty of ideas for parishioners in any parish. 

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“The brethren should conduct themselves toward one another with the greatest love, whether in praying or reading Scripture or doing any kind of work so that they may have the foundation of charity toward others. And thus their various tasks or undertakings may find approval with those who pray and those who read and those who work, all can conduct themselves toward each other in sincerity and simplicity to their mutual profit. For why else is it written: ‘Thy will be done also on earth as in heaven‘ (Matthew 6:10)? Is it in order that, as the angels in heaven live together in accord with each other in the greatest unanimity, in peace and love, and there is no pride or envy there but they communicate in mutual love and sincerity, so in the same way the brethren should be among themselves. In the case where some thirty live together, they cannot continue at one thing the whole day and night. But some of them devote themselves to prayer for six hours and then they wish to read. Others readily and kindly serve the others, while still others do their own work. 

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The brethren, therefore, regardless of what work they are doing, ought to conduct themselves toward each other in love and cheerfulness. And the one who works should say of him who is praying: ‘I also possess the treasure which my brother possesses since it is common.’ And let him who prays say of him who reads: ‘What he gains from reading redounds also to my advantage.’ And he who works let him thus say: ‘The work which I am doing is for the common good.’ For as the members of the body, being many, are one body (1 Corinthians 12:12) and help each other while each still performs its own function—as the eye sees for the whole body and the hand laborers for all the members and the foot walks, sustaining all the members, and another member suffers with all the others—so also the brethren should be among themselves.   (Pseudo-Macarius, THE FIFTY SPIRITUAL HOMILIES, pp 47-48) 

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For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. . . . that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14 … 25-27) 

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